Walter Gropius

12″x12″

Dorothea Rockburne

12″x12″

Willem De Kooning

12″x12″


“My interest in desperation lies only in that sometimes I find myself having become desperate.” – W. De Kooning

Helen Frankenthaler

12″X12″

M.C. Richards

12″x12″

Buckminster Fuller

12″x12″

“There’s nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”

Robert Rauschenberg

12″x12″

“I really feel sorry for people who think things like soap dishes or mirrors or Coke bottles are ugly, because they’re surrounded by things like that all day long, and it must make them miserable.” – R. Rauschenberg

Ben Shahn

12″x12″

Anni Albers

12″x12″

Jacob Lawrence

12″x12″

Adam West

12″x12″

Ruth Asawa

12″x12″

Peaceable Kingdom

11″x14″

Joni Mitchell

12″x12″

Alice Neel

12″x12″

Elton John

12″x12″

Gregg Allman

12″x12″

Francis Bacon

12″x12″

Peaceable Kingdom

11″x14″

Peaceable Kingdom

11″x14″

Katharine Hepburn

12″x12″

Peaceable Kingdom

8″x10″

Peaceable Kingdom

8″x10″

Stevie Nicks

12″x12″

Sid Vicious

12″x12″

Oh Little Liza

30″x40″

Frank O’Hara

12″x12″

David Byrne

12″x12″

Gwendolyn Brooks

12″x12″

Cy Twombly

12″x12″

Merce Cunningham

12″x12″

“Falling is one of the ways of moving.” – Merce Cunningham

John Cage

12″x12″

“There is an interpenetration of unlimited centers.” – John Cage

Workaday Sale

The Workaday Spring Studio Sale is on right now. Over 200 works on paper and canvas are available, moving works from my studio to loving walls. Search by price. If you want to reserve anything for yourself or have any questions, please email me at noahsaterstrom@gmail.com

School of Expression

24″x48″

Fred Rogers

12″x12″

Theodor Seuss Geisel

12″x12″

Virginia Woolf

12″x12″

Maurice Sendak

12″x12″

Abraham Lincoln

12″x12″

George Saunders

12″x12″

Odetta

12″ x 12″

Joust

30″ x 40″

Pledge of Allegiance

48″ x 60″

Our Lady of Lourdes

30″ x 40″

Frederick Douglass

12″ x 12″

George Orwell

12″x12″

Emmett Till

12″x12″

Nashville Arts Magazine, Feb 2017


I am deeply honored and excited that curator Jochen Wierich wrote this eloquent article about my exhibition — Shubuta & Other Stories — for Nashville Arts magazine. Click the link below to read the full article (p.58-63).

Nashville Arts, February, 2017
“Two Converging Paths Into History”, by Jochen Wierich.

The exhibition is up until Feb 15 at the Julia Martin Gallery in Nashville.

Mary Tyler Moore

12″ x 12″

Barack Obama

12″ x 12″

Dr. Frank-N-Furter

12″ x 12″

Zadie Smith

12″x12″

IMG_2802

John Prine

12″x12″
IMG_2792

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

12″x12″

IMG_2779

100 Sentences

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For my current show at the Julia Martin Gallery, I put together this little book of one hundred sentences about painting, history, slavery, memory. I don’t think that these, or any other paintings require text, but this show includes many detailed references. Thought it best to document them, for what it’s worth.

ONE HUNDRED SENTENCES
Regarding SHUBUTA & OTHER STORIES
NOAH SATERSTROM | 2017

It may be understood that paintings are always primarily about painting.

Certain themes persist.

Maurice Denis tells us to “[r]emember that a painting – before it is a battle horse, a nude model, or some anecdote – is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order.”

I did not set out to paint about slavery, or bigotry

I did set out to paint about family stories and place.

The family stories are mine and the place is Mississippi.

What is unique about the South is not racism, not even its institutionalization – you can find that in the North, too.

Celebrating difference does not come easily for humans, even if recognizing difference does.

What may be unique about the South is its specificity regarding racism.

My family in Mississippi owned thousands of slaves.

There are records, signed contracts, inventory lists.

In 1828, my mother’s mother’s mother’s father’s father’s father was Governor of Mississippi and proposed to legislators that there be no more slaves brought to the state and the practice, “an evil at best,” should be ended within a generation.

They didn’t go for it.

In a state record of 1860, thirty-two years later, his own son was listed as owning 512 slaves.

I do not recount this to condemn my family.

Having slave-owning ancestors doesn’t make you a racist, but being a slave owner does.

Being an artist doesn’t free you from bias.

I am interested in making paintings, not in making social statements.

I’m not even interested in making artist statements.

The financial benefits of slavery were not enjoyed only in the South.

Bigotry is not a rural phenomenon.

I am interested in family, memory, history, my own and others’.

I could look at other people’s family albums all day.

Specificity pulls me in.

Questions arise from stories, both factual and apocryphal, passed from mother and father to son and daughter.

Want to pull out an old slide carousel?

We have all night.

Should art be interrogatory, not declarative?

One has a certain fascination with unresolvable questions.

Thousands of slaves were owned by my ancestors.

I don’t know how many stayed in Mississippi.

Presumably tens of thousands of current residents of the state are descended from people once owned by my family.

Painting is about capturing.

Storytelling is about preserving.

I don’t know if that’s true.

No, drawing is about preserving.

The Corinthian girl so long ago traces the flickering shadow of her lover on the wall before he left for war.

There is a case to be made for preservation.

Or is preserving always romanticizing?

You guessed it, he didn’t come back.

We know romanticizing to be hazardous.

We know a romantic past is a daydream.

When we long for a lost paradise, what we mean is our garden was taken from us.

“We didn’t surrender the good times, they were stolen.”

“There were the good times, and now there is now, and someone is to blame.”

“It was an economic decision.”

“They didn’t hate their slaves”.

“The field hands were a good investment.”

The house servants tended to their daily needs and to their children.

If you want to say something good, use your words.

No, better to use your actions.

Is there anything less significant than a history painting in the 21st century?

Paint can do very little beyond itself.

If you want to do some good in the world, have an apple.

Walls are for collectors.

It is good to look at paintings quietly, daily, over a period of years, decades, generations if possible.

There is a dimension beyond what can be experienced at this moment, and it’s called make-believe.

Images are resolved formally not conceptually.

Imagery propagates itself.

We were taught that my mother’s family were intellectuals, philosophers, scholars, doctors and planters.

My great great grandfather, a child during the Civil War, remembered how the black Union soldier stationed at their home to protect them from jayhawkers and bandits during the chaotic time of the federal occupation of Natchez would whittle toy bayonets out of cane for the little boy to play with.

They played soldiers; well, one of them was playing.

He grew into a respected man, one people thought of as good.

While a law student at the University of Mississippi in the 1880’s, he and his friends on a lark held a mock trial of a young black man they met on a bridge.

For fun they held him, made up his crime, and convicted him right there on the bridge.

After the fun, they sent him on his way into the night.

In the 1930’s he referred to the Klan as a “necessary evil.”

“Servants” ” nurses” “maids” and “drivers” feature marginally

in family letters, always with nurturing and friendly feelings.

Black people were often the last to see my ancestors alive.

Sam Brown, my great great grandfather’s great grandfather’s “trusted body servant”, was with him when he died beside his horse in 1823.

This continues right up to Wilfred, the yard man, my grandfather’s last hospital visitor.

And again to Sandra, the caretaker of my aunt and grandmother, both recently passed.

There may be little to glean here but interconnectedness.
In the minds of many white Southerners was not hatred of black people, but restoring the “previous social order.”

And fear, of course.

The previous order was seen as balanced, prosperous, natural.

As it happened, that previous order relied on white supremacy.

Memory is the same as History, just shorter and confined to one person.

History is the same as Memory, just longer and more crowded.

Both have unreliable narrators.

To intervene is to come between.

To interfere is to strike between.

Some are highly controlled and intentional, while others are improvisational, gestural: paintings, I mean.

I grew up mostly in a small river town whose system of race and class distinctions were strictly enforced by the ruling class.

Of course neither this town nor its system are special for that.

Is there any value in painting about something that even words — arguably a much more efficient medium — struggle to describe?

My work is finding a way to make paintings that are analogous to the way my mind works.

Not because the world needs to see how my mind works but if my painting is like my thinking, it will come without obstruction.

What artist doesn’t want that?

I recall Philip Guston’s long, long preparation for a few moments of innocence, and then I name my son Guston.

Trying to speak plainly about an uncomfortable subject is at least an alternative to catastrophic politeness.

On Sept 16th 1841, one of my ancestors gave $34.25 to his wife’s father to rent his servant William for three months.

After that they agreed he would be on loan as needed until April for $10 per month – about $263 today.

Painting can kick off involuntary thoughts and dreamlike associations in the brain.

For some, this is enjoyable.

The world needs good deeds to be done.

Painting does not do that kind of good in the world.

If I were raised on the ocean, I might paint what I observed about the waves.

If I were raised in the trees, I might paint what I knew of the canopy, of birds and bugs.

In real stories, everyone is human.

***
I would like to thank Julia Martin Wimmer, Sam Dunson, Jochen Wierich, Jessica Eichman, Anna Saterstrom, and Jules, Vivi, and Gus Saterstrom for encouraging me to make and show this work.

Shubuta & Other Stories is dedicated to my family.

In Times of War

48″ x 60″
in_times_of_war

Road to Shubuta

48″ x 96″
road_to_shubuta

Renting William

11″ x 14″

renting_william

Sunken Trace

24″ x 36″
sunken_trace

Sam Brown

24″ x 36″

sam_brown

Cutting Bayonets

18″ x 24″

cutting_bayonets

Bed Barges

30″ x 40″

bed_barges

Bridge

24″ x 30″
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Brown’s Velvet

30″ x 40″
browns_velvet

Carrie Fisher

12″x12″
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John Glenn

12″x12″

img_2072

The Quiet Game

11″x14″
img_1778

Rear View Mirror

11″x14″
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Cutting Bayonets

11″x14″

img_1552

Sam Brown

11″x14″

img_1725

Boys Will Be

11″x14″
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Child, Version of Child

11″x14″
img_1553

Another Brick in the Wall

11″x14″
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Sam Brown (study)

5″x8″
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Girls in Shrubs

9″x12″

img_1457

Drawing Faces

16″x20″

img_1308

Projection

11″x14″

img_1392

Two Figures

10″x18″

img_1031

Frida Kahlo #3

12″x12″

img_1269

Elizabeth Taylor

12″x12″
img_1296

Leonard Cohen

12″x12″

img_1268

Lead Belly

12″ x 12″
lead_belly_small

James Joyce

12″ x 12″
james_joyce_small

Shel Silverstein

12″ x 12″

shel_silverstein

Virginia Woolf

12″ x 12″
virginiawoolf_small

Bill Berkson

12″ x 12″
bill_berkson_small

Michael Jackson

12″ x 12″
michael_jackson_small

Shimon Peres

12″ x 12″
shimon__peres_small

Tetherball

11″x15

img_1049

Jerry Garcia

12″x12″

img_0889

Bob Dylan

12″x12″

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Pupils and Bees

24″ x 30″
pupils_and_bees_small

Eudora Welty

12″x12″
image

Pablo Picasso

12″x12″
image

Emily Dickinson

12″x12″
image

Alberto Giacometti

12″x12″
image

Pupils

24″ x 30″

pupils_small

Orphans & Hornets

44″ x 58″
orphans_and_hornets_small

Orphans & Ribbons

36″ x 36″
orphans_and_ribbons_small

Orphans & Bees

36″ x 60″

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