Timothy Callaghan's New Exhibition at William Busta Projects Features Paintings Inspired by Cleveland Neighborhoods

The works drew inspiration from Cleveland calendars produced in the 1980s and '90s

click to enlarge September, 2022 - gouache on paper - 20" X 20" - Timothy Callaghan
Timothy Callaghan
September, 2022gouache on paper20" X 20"

"Factotum," a new exhibition of work by Timothy Callaghan, is all about Cleveland.

The 12 paintings included in the show, which opens this Friday at the William Busta Projects (15517 Waterloo Rd., Suite 2), were inspired by the city's neighborhoods.

Two of them, additionally, are used as the cover art for a split 7-inch record with music by Mike Uva and Krista Tomorowitz (Madame), Callaghan's wife. That project will have a record release party and live performance at Blue Arrow Records on Dec. 2 during Walk All Over Waterloo at 7 p.m.

“The project began with Bill Busta's suggestion of producing a calendar with a painting of mine for each month for his ongoing William Busta projects editions,” said Callaghan. “The idea for the 45 came halfway through the project and they are very much like sister projects as we envisioned sending them out to patrons of the gallery. I have never put out a record before but it has been a dream project for some time as music has always been an important muse in my practice. The calendar and 45 rpm are still technologies that I rely on and very much enjoy as they mark time in a pleasant way. The paintings are of places I found myself in the past year with no real preconception of a particular narrative.”’

The idea was inspired by Cleveland Calendars published in the 1980s and 1990s by International Printing Company, wich  commissioned a different artist each year and showcased artists such as Mary Lou Ferbert, Moses Pearl, Florian Lawton, Martin Linsey and, Viktor Schreckengost.

Through the pedestrian perspective of his work, Callaghan depicts candid moments of everyday life like in the piece “September, 2022,” which frames an old boat up against a barbed, chain-link fence. Another boat with a cover on it huddles behind the fence as cumulus clouds sit in the sky overhead like cotton candy.

Callaghan’s style is recognizable with his signature chubby brush strokes building tonal shifts and shadow like a mosaic. A series of carefully chosen dashes of pigment convey the scene. There is an illustrative quality to his work which reads somewhat otherworldly.

His choice of gouache on paper in this particular image emotes a pleasant and hopeful feeling, with his use of bright colors depicting blues sky and green leaves and grass. These delightful color choices contrast the feeling one might get looking at seemingly broken-down, landlocked old boats, making them out of place and leaving the viewer with a yearning to push the vessels out to sea where they belong.

Within the gallery, instead of didactic, I chose to accompany Timothy Callaghan’s paintings with poetic notations," Busta said in a release.

For December:
Where do we feel we belong,
where every place we pass
is a memory of love
or loss? We walk these old streets
as if possessed, even as our
brave footsteps fade in the dusk.

Callaghan’s record label, Armchair Sounds, is releasing thie split 7”.

Callaghan resides in Cleveland and is the recipient of a 2015 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. He received his BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA from Kent State University in 2005. His paintings are part of private and public collections throughout the state.
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