Visions of Paradise
The Irony of Beauty in an Age of Dissonance

The Galatea OnLine Gallery

June 24, 2020
13th Edition

I was recently asked by an artist who was making a painting directly in response to the Covid-19 outbreak why anyone would make works in which beauty and awe was the subject matter, in times like these . This was an honest question, one that was coming out of a deep reaction to life experiences. My answer came easily to me; it is within the darkest times that artists who are so inclined seek to create an inner balance, a union with the joyous and bountiful, that which is emotionally and spiritually sustainable.

John Milton's "Paradise Lost" was first published in 1667. Along with the events of the re-organizing of certain parts of Europe (including the ceding of Kiev, Smolensk and Eastern Ukraine to Russia) there were noteworthy breakthroughs in medicine for that time. The first blood transfusion was performed (sheep to human, success to eventual tragedy). The recognition of the alteration of blood in the lungs by Robert Hooke is discovered. And in addition, Isaac Newton begins his research and writings which transformed the trajectory of history.

This is a period of time in which the transformations of the Renaissance were put to practical use. The "luxuries" of observation and beauty walked hand and hand with inventive and sociological decision-making. After the "great fall" of medieval sensibilities seemingly still stooped in fear via the Plague; the "great awakening" of minds and hearts of the Renaissance; comes a time of the application of discovery . How does that relate to Milton's "Paradise Lost"? Milton humanizes the cast, both good and evil. He brings the expulsion from Eden into our human experience by highlighting its physicality. He is bringing the story into this physical realm, and we are able to relate to the Expulsion as an application of our human experience. It has gone from "up there" (heaven) to "down here" (earth).

We have been expelled from the notion that we can continue to sleep through the present and leave the cleaning up of our environment and the application of social justice to the next generation . We have eaten of the apple and must now leave collective ignorance behind. As Joni Mitchell writes, "We have got to get ourselves back to the garden".

Here are 8 Galatea artists' versions of "Visions of Paradise" to remind ourselves that this garden, Eden, is embedded in our DNA. Excerpts from the first book of "Paradise Lost" will accompany the images; Milton describes the appearance of the Fallen Angels exquisitely. How else do we know the existence of heaven, Paradise, except through the Fallen Angel insinuating that it doesn't exist? And within Milton's descriptions of terror are telling little signs of hope and optimism - the simple suggestion of the existence of beauty.

-Marjorie Kaye

Rolling of thunder; the stillness of the air, foreboding,
awaits the tempestuous storm.
Beauty is the emotive mirror of human temptation and loss, the inevitable transformation and cleansing of the deep rain.

Christina Beecher, After the August Rains , Oil Painting, 18 x 24 inches, 2014, $500.00

"... OF Mans First Disobedience , and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste
With loss of  Eden , till  one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the  blissful Seat..."

The mountains are richly colored, like eggyolks running on a plate. The sun is off in the distance, but there is a greater sun shining rays of exhilaration, saturating the surface of the plain-like cliffs.

Randa Dubnick, Mountain Sunshine , Acrylic Watermedia, 16 x 20 inches, 2020, $400.00

"...Sing  Heav'nly Muse , that on the secret top
Of  Oreb , or of  Sinai , didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the  chosen Seed ,
In the Beginning  how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose  out of  Chaos : Or if  Sion  Hill [ 10 ]
Delight thee more, and  Siloa 's Brook  that flow'd
Fast by the  Oracle of God..."

The land mimics the ocean, undulating grasses swallowing up the light and giving refuge to all manner of small life. The horizon is bright and mysterious, a void, a reflection of all potential.

Tamara Gonda, Butterfly Ground, Acrylic on Canvas, 48 x 48 inches, 2017, $4,800.00

"... Say first , for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view
Nor the deep Tract of Hell, say first what cause
Mov'd our Grand Parents in that happy State,
Favour'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off [ 30 ]
From thir Creator, and transgress his Will..."

The tangles of the salt marsh confound the passer as a river appears. One knows this is but a tributary, and that the vast ocean blooms in the distance.

Yvonne Troxell LaMothe, Salt Marsh Trail , Oil on Panel, 36 x 48 inches, 2018, $1,600.00

"...But  O how fall'n!  how chang'd
From him, who in the happy Realms of Light [ 85 ]
Cloth'd with transcendent brightness didst out-shine
Myriads though bright: If he Whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the Glorious Enterprize,..."

Glory is on the stage of the growth of a flower from the brown dirt. We are conditioned not to notice this simple fruition of the victorious over existential struggle. The flower extends itself, reaching in the gesture of seeking that which nourishes it.

Cynthia Maurice, Weed , Lithograph, 30 x 22 inches, 2018, $800.00

"...All is not lost; the unconquerable Will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?..."

 "Is it paradise or isn’t it? Troubling layers often underlie a blissful surface. which, as a society, we are coming more fully to recognize."
- Carolyn Newberger
Concealing and revealing, strength is coming from the inner being flourishing in a sea of swaying grasses.

Carolyn Newberger, In Time , Watercolor and Collage, 22 x 30 inches, 2015, $3,400.00

"...And this Empyreal substance cannot fail,
Since through experience of this great event
In Arms not worse, in foresight much advanc't,
We may with more successful hope resolve..."

The path is not created for the seeker, but the path must be forged by the seeker. Denizens of the forest may fly above the trees, or crawl under them; but we are outsiders here, in this beautiful unmarred place, and must carefully and with consideration, find our way back.

Vicki Kocher Paret, Fresh Pond , Gouache on Panel, 24 x 18 inches, 2020, $1,600.00

"...Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves,
There rest, if any rest can harbour there, [ 185 ]
And reassembling our  afflicted Powers ,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our Enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire Calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from Hope, [ 190 ]
If not what resolution from despare...."

The horizon serves as a mirror, heaven reflected in the waters of the earth. Tranquilly the water birds make their way through the reeds. Boundless life is above, within, and under the surface.

Eleanor Steinadler, Corkscrew Swamp, FL , Lambda Print (Edition of 4),
24 x 36 inches: $1,295.00 (framed)
12 x 17 inches: $545.00 (framed)

"...Whose midnight Revels, by a Forrest side
Or Fountain  some belated Peasant  sees,
Or dreams he sees, while over-head the Moon
Sits Arbitress, and neerer to the Earth
Wheels her pale course, they on thir mirth and dance..."

As galleries have begun to reinstate their schedules , they are re-making them concurrently. Galatea, along with other galleries affected not only by Covid-19, but by devastating flooding, must navigate a "long and winding road" back to some semblance of normality. As it has been said, the old normal no longer exists. We make new paths and consider the future an exploration.
When the coast is clear, you can be sure that we will be there continuing our lively exhibition schedule, and we will keep you updated.
In the mean time, be sure to visit our Artsy page at to view our June members' work.
Again, we appreciate all the support and love that you have shared with us over the last decade and look forward to moving beyond this with you. We are happy to work with you on a purchase of artwork shown here, or answer any questions you might have. In this time when artists of all genres are struggling to keep their practice going, your support is especially valued.
For sales inquiries , please contact Marjorie Kaye at [email protected] . Our artists will be happy to ship the work to you at a cost to be determined.
To all , and in particular the SOWA community, artists of all kinds, and those that support us, we are strong and will survive. May all blessings, health, happiness, strength, wisdom, art and love be our gift.

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Hours: Wed-Sun, 12-5pm
and by appointment
Contact: Marjorie Kaye