Broad strokes of inexperienced. Vibrant flashes of pink, streaks of tan, white, and pink comingling in a single brush stroke. Foad Satterfield’s canvases are layers of acrylic texture, pulling the viewer in to a chaos of colours that morph into new types—timber, grass, wildflowers in a subject, and the sky, all mirrored in a rippled mirror of water.
Satterfield doesn’t name himself an artist. He’s a painter, a maker, who finds refuge from darkness in nature. Sixteen of his work are on show at Malin Gallery in New York Metropolis by means of September 10 in an exhibit known as Areas Earlier than Us – Unrestrained. Satterfield stated he’s grateful to have his work housed there, “not for recognition or fame, however as a result of I believe it may very well be useful, helpful, a missile of compassion, of empathy.”
“I need this work to be on the planet,” stated Satterfield. “That’s my purpose, it’s at all times been my mission: to take advantage of lovely issues to convey compassion, if just for a second, to somebody who could also be struggling.”
Satterfield is professor emeritus of artwork at Dominican College in San Rafael, CA, the place he taught for 38 years. He was born in 1945 and grew up on the Gulf Coast. He characterised himself as a delicate, observant youngster, soaking within the knowledge of his nice aunt and elder household members who raised him whereas his mom attended faculty and his father served as a marine. He was devoted to his Singer stitching machine, reducing out materials and making his personal shirts, dreaming of sooner or later turning into a designer.
For the primary decade of his life, Satterfield lived in Orange, a small city in east Texas the place he was “underneath the supernatural safety of affection,” he stated, secure from the racism of Jim Crow south. However when the household moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana, he started to get a real style of the oppression, discrimination, and prejudice skilled on a regular basis by his household, mates, and friends. He noticed the unusual dichotomy skilled by many Black people between the security they felt inside their houses and the anxiousness they skilled being outdoors.
“There was at all times this worry of being out within the residing world in a means, out within the woods. So, what I made a decision to do was to take that trauma and that worry and switch it in on itself,” stated Satterfield. “After I was terrified or traumatized, I’d exit into the woods, nature, and let nature take it from me and take up it.”
Satterfield stated he continues to seek out solace in nature, that nature “takes the poison out.” His out of doors meditations permit him to create work which can be messages of “compassion, love, and forgiveness,” he stated.
His Woodfox sequence has specific poignance.
Satterfield made a number of compositions impressed and named for Albert Woodfox in 2016, the identical yr Woodfox was launched from jail. Woodfox had been accused, together with two different Black males, of the homicide of a jail guard in 1972. All three asserted their innocence and stated they’d been blamed due to their affiliation with the Black Panther occasion.
Woodfox would go on to spend 43 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana State Penitentiary, in any other case often known as Angola. He would later publish a e-book about his expertise, Solitary: Unbroken by 4 A long time in Solitary Confinement. My Story of Transformation and Hope. Woodfox died on Thursday, August 4, from COVID-19 problems.
The inhumanity of Woodfox’s punishment tore at Satterfield’s coronary heart, he stated. Whereas activism and protest alleviated among the ache, Satterfield discovered himself coming again to the identical query: “What can I do?”
So, Satterfield went to the woods. He wandered to a quiet park close to his residence in Berkeley, CA, and sat down subsequent to small cliff and a dried-up stream. He started to see the parallels between this house and the struggling of Woodfox.
“This has all the weather—a semblance of life nearly being worn out, life making an attempt to revive itself however inhibited—and it’s a horizonal composition, laying down versus standing up—all of the decomposing and fertile supplies, life and dying present in the identical airplane,” stated Satterfield. “To transpose it into pure parts to inform that very same story, you’ve obtained to get a likelihood to be in entrance of it for a minute.
That’s why Satterfield hopes his viewers will take the time to sit down and observe his work, to see what they’ll uncover when given the permission for house, peace, and quiet.
“I need the work to be inspiring,” stated Satterfield. “I’m hoping the work could be positioned into nationwide venues, as a result of I believe it expands what we’re all about, our humanity and relationships, constructing upon that, looking for wholesome methods to take care of the trauma, making the work and utilizing nature as a therapeutic factor.”
Liann Herder could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.