Thursday, December 07, 2017

The Kingdom Is Within

An Exhibit of paintings by Brian Strang, "The Kingdom Is Within," is now hanging at Awaken Cafe through the end of January.  Opening reception is open to all and will be kid friendly.  Come check it out!  

Awaken Cafe
1429 Broadway (@ 15th Street)
Oakland, CA  94612 

Opening Reception: Sunday December 17, 3-5pm
Paintings are all reasonably priced. If you're interested, I can send you a price list.

The Kingdom Is Within

paintings from the perilous imagination in nature

The relationship between the human and natural worlds has been ingrained in our psyches for centuries as an adversarial one.  But while each of us leaves footprints on the ecosystem, we all exist within it.  After all, who is not a part of nature?  Ashes to ashes.  We are all part of what poet Gary Snyder has called “one vast breathing body.”

Imagination and dreaming provide deep connections with commonality.  They provide direction and context.  We must learn to be guided by nature more accurately, to listen to its myriad complexity, its interconnection so pervasive that it exceeds our limitations.  We must listen with imagination and follow the ancient elemental poetry of the world, even when it seems perilous.

Poetry is encoded within the forms all around us; one only has to look closely to see it.  I paint to discover the world and to imagine it anew.

About Brian Strang’s painting, the SF Bay Guardian has said, “Strang’s work... suggests a more romantic pleasure in and response to visual phenomena.  It betrays a rhythmic sensibility not unlike that found in a sketch by Matisse” (6/13/07). 

His paintings, which all contain written poetic text, have been exhibited many times over the last ten years in solo and group shows, have been republished in magazines and currently reside in many private collections.  He has lived in East Oakland for fifteen years, teaches English at San Francisco State University, has had several books of poetry published, most recently Dark Adapt by Duration Press, and plays guitar in Crow Crash Radio.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

THE FOUR, 38" x 38" gouache, pen and glitter on found canvas.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Charm Offensive.  Gouache and ink on canvas.  36" x 18."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

the land

ink, gouache and glitter on wood,  16" x 20."


the land

sing of a greasy red fish 
tacked to a board 
battery operated 
against its peers
with its chewed-off tail
its eye to the glass
singing this is the land
of fireworks displays
handheld realities that read
the hand that holds them
this is the land where tender mercies 

die a thousand times over
where mental pygmies boil the flesh
from your bones
where the tide brings in biological wreckage

but also the land 
where the tide goes out 
where you may sleep all day and night 
and dream of sable garlands
empty sleeves and tautological

sweet nothings that whisper across 
a painless sky
it is here in the sweet and sour
that you and everyone resides 

everyone you know anyway 
caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly
growing in utterly burned down trust 
without a mouth with which to eat

eyes are asleep yet awake 
strangely blind seeing only 
what they know
the lines in and out

precise and certain
unknowing arc of a burning eye 

unguided unprecedented
lining up to sip from the fountain 

practically cosmic in its proportions 
and deep to the center of the earth 
we sip and bathe in the eye 
hovering above the ground
lifelike and present listening
to your requests and granting none

the dead listen up through the grass
and hear your doubts and fears
you were certain but now have only questions 

and you become cleaner clearer soporific
yet speeding along behind the wheel
of a terrible gift smooth and seamless 

impenetrable replicable but inconceivable 
how can you exit?
cruel sentences hang in the air
above the blank page
that rise above a collective forgetting 
doomed and damned entering and leaving 
through the same doors

is this the same word?
the same underbelly
in the gravel of speech 

venerated philosophical 
circle of typewriters mutter 
in a human figure
that walks about unconcerned with gravity 
or the circles of flame
never wanting to see itself
in either shadow or light

people beg and line the roads 
uttering a single whisper: 
“nothing in the world
will be uncorrupted

dear hearts a blemish 
and blight brought 
not by justice but by 
its abscess revenge 
please tell us
we are