Jan 23, 2020

Entering a pilot’s artistic ‘Realm of Flight’

'The most beautiful sights are above us. I want to preserve the beauty of the clouds and show everyone the most extraordinary art nature itself is creating,' Gallagher, pictured above with his ASW 20 –– BL racing glider, said about his sculptures that compose his graduate show ‘Realm of Flight’ in the Phoebe Conley Gallery.
Juan Villa / The Collegian

At 30,000 feet above us exists another world, a world of wonder and beauty.

A beauty one pilot and Fresno State graduate student want to capture and share with us, in our world below.

“The most beautiful sights are above us, I want to preserve the beauty of the clouds and show everyone the most extraordinary art nature itself is creating,” graduate student and pilot Harold J. Gallagher said.

Gallagher premiered his art exhibit Realm of Flight last night at the Phoebe Conley Gallery here on campus. Realm of Flight is one of a few art exhibits going on right now.

'Last Flight,' made out of alabaster and balsa wood.
Juan Villa / The Collegian

Other exhibits include assistant professor Una Mjurka’s Subdivision. Subdivision features unique art concerning ceramic tiles representing the Central Valley landscape.

“The environment and landscape of the Central Valley has been completely transformed by large scale commercial farming,” Mjurka said. “It is becoming an enclave of urban sprawl and endless subdivisions. The disconnect I harbor towards this artificially created landscape is at the root of my current work.”

Gallagher’s Realm of Flight features several sculptures displaying cloud formations he’s seen while flying.

The medium he uses to sculpt his cloud formations is a rock called alabaster. He feels this rock has almost the same unique beauty he finds in the clouds.

“I just find alabaster to be perfect for making clouds out of rock,” Gallagher said.

The exhibit also showcases sculptures Gallagher made capturing powerful moments in aviation history, including a representation of the tragedy that befell United 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Flight 93 was the most remarkable demonstration of human courage and sacrifice that I have seen in a long time,” Gallagher said. “ And I wanted to preserve that moment and pay tribute to it.”

Gallagher’s passion for art just recently developed. He said the creative drive has always lingered, that he always had a tendency to want to do art. He started making sculptures when he first moved to Fresno.

But Gallagher’s true passion has always been for flying. He is currently a flight instructor and said most of his inspiration for his sculptures comes from what he sees while in the air with students.

He cherishes the privacy he finds while flying, especially when inside a glider.

“The freedom of the sky, the quietness, that fact you are breaking the boundaries of the earth,” Gallagher said. “And I don’t mean just the physical, I mean getting away from your problems in life, that’s what brings me back up there.”

Conley Gallery
The ‘Realm of Flight’ exhibit and ‘Subdiision’ are currently being showcased at the Phoebe Conley Gallery in the Thomas Administration Building.
• ‘Realm of Flight’ will be showing through Feb. 25.
• ‘Subdivision’ will be shown through March 5.
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