By Jim Sisley, Image Source

            Steve Loya says he has always been creative. During a recent interview, he shared two important thoughts. 

            One was: “Art should be an adventure for the artist and the viewer.” 

            The other: “It’s very important to try to break the mold and find your own path”—something close to a Picasso quote. 

            He spent a year creating more than 50 works in pen/ink on paper for the “Endangered Species” series, images of vulnerable animals that have received strong public acclaim. 

            Loya then began using watercolors to produce “splotch monsters,” fleshing out blobby figures in the dried splotches of barely-there color on paper. Ghostly, fleeting and translucent, his monsters are too interesting to be scary. Splotch Monsters are joyful images that, like a Kaleidoscope, are better appreciated when seen than when explained.

Steve Loya

            It’s important to know what and how he was previously painting because his recent work is a significant stylistic departure while continuing to flex his considerable artistic chops. It’s something like deciding one day that you are no longer righthanded and finding that your lefthanded penmanship might actually be better.

            Now, he comes with a large group of abstract concept paintings that form his visual representation of music. His muse is Chromesthesia, a human condition in which heard sounds evoke an experience of color. He also cites Gerhard Richter as an influence in this work. 

            Loya creates color signals that serve as the painting’s characters. He applies a substantial dollop of pure red and pushes it across the canvas surface and over previous flourishes of green and yellow. The effect is captivating because the different colors appear as stacked panes of glass rather than plastic opaque patches. He uses watercolor techniques for translucence and dense plastic paint for its material properties creating paintings with an inner glow similar to sunlight through stained glass.

            The art world goes to great lengths to define “conceptual,” “abstract” and “intuitive” art forms because the work often abandons representation of the things we see in the natural world. Abstraction exists across an arc of artistic expression by the likes of Turner, Van Gogh, Whistler and Jackson Pollock to name just a few. Abstract works have advanced the art world and were born as a stretch beyond more formal works produced by popular artists of their day. And, no, your two-year-old child cannot produce this work because little Evan’s endearing effort is uninformed by… anything. However, the similarity between young Evan’s product and informed purposeful abstract work is that both move our souls if we are open to it. Loya says his audience is anyone who is receptive, open-minded and responds to color.

            This month, he also will occupy the featured artist space at Tryst Gallery in Leesburg. His “Universal Language” exhibit opens on First Friday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. and runs through Nov. 30. 

Interlude by Steve Loya

[Jim Sisley is the owner of the Tryst Gallery, located at 312 E. Market St. Suite F in downtown Leesburg. The gallery is open Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and First Friday 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each month.]