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The “Alchemist” by Scott Greenwalt at Gallery Hijinks in San Francisco

A Perfectly Normal Tuesday Afternoon, acrylic on canvas 62" x 48"

Oakland based artist Scott Greenwalt just presented his latest work at Gallery Hijinks in San Francisco. In each portrait in the show, the Alchemist, Greenwalt captures the process of metamorphosis and compresses it into a single image. The subject of each painting appears to be shedding its skin, exposing its grisly innards where new layers of connective tissue are spontaneously sprouting.

Some would describe Greenwalt’s work grotesque, others would see beauty amid the chaos of transformation. Whatever… Greenwalt is a masterful painter. Although his work is abstract, the artist is clearly depicting a living organism amid the dynamic process of mutating into the unknown. Greenwalt says, “My paintings depict a glimpse into another dimension where familiar forms take on alien qualities. I’m interested in the unseen moments of this transmutation: the chemical reaction that instantly changes the make-up of a substance, or the gradual transformation of a landscape that moves further and further into chaos: growth and decay, ebbing and flowing in an unending cycle of continual renewal and demise.”

Do these images remind you of something you’ve seen before? The artist cites growing up watching 1980’s sci-fi and horror films as a strong influence, specifically the work done by special effects make-up artist Rob Bottin in John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing.’ Speaking of transformations, I can’t wait to see how this talented young artist’s work also sprouts in new directions.

Thousands of Years Ago in the Future, acrylic on canvas 41" x 50

Following Our Discussion Last Winter, acrylic on canvas 62" x 48

Something About Albert Hofmann, acrylic on canvas 44" x 56"

Seventeen Minutes Prior to This Exact Moment, Acrylic on panel 40" x 60

*Photos from Gallery Hijinks.

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