Max Gleason

Seasons of Self
October 6 - October 28


Art can touch the Divine. For thousands of years artists have pointed us toward the “Transcendent Other” through marks, models, songs and symbols. I, too, have chased a glimpse of Divinity for much of my artistic career. Then 4 years ago something happened which split my world wide open - as a human and an artist.

On October 25, 2019 my wife and our two young children were killed by a suicidal motorist. With this event, my relationship to spirituality became immediate and painfully visceral. I was forced to reckon with the biggest existential questions:

What happens when we die?Why are we here in the first place?Does free will exist or is everything predestined?

As a lifelong artist, I turned to painting to help me process this tragedy, creating several pieces honoring the life and passing of my family. Roughly one year after the crash, people began approaching me for painting commissions. These new clients had visions, dreams, pains and passions they were hoping I could translate into paint. By virtue of my personal loss, people felt that I could be a channel for their own deep life experiences. This marked a pivotal transition in my career as an artist, offering myself as a bridge between the unseen world and the seen. In this new work recurring themes have arisen: birth and death, the joy of children, the guidance of ancestors, navigating illness, celebrating love, and everything in between...the stuff that makes us human. I am immensely grateful and humbled to do this work, which I create in a converted hay barn at the back of a vineyard. I am now remarried, and my incredible partner Jasmine and I live in Santa Ynez, CA.

Seasons of Self

Spring blossoms to summer. Fall cedes to winter. Dawn illuminates the day. Dusk bleeds to night. The infant grows strong, learning to walk and talk, becoming the child. The child sees themself and the world, taking the reins of adulthood. The adult builds, finds place, ripening to elderhood.

The four paintings in Seasons of Self are portals into archetypal worlds. Drawing, in part, upon the Indigenous American wisdom of the medicine wheel, Seasons of Self maps the chapters of our human life onto cycles of the natural world. A wheel is segmented into quadrants, each corresponding to the cardinal directions, serving as an ontological guide.


A host of other traits, both of the human and natural worlds, are ascribed to the quadrants, providing a distinct orientation for each chapter of life. This symbolic framework illustrates that we, as humans, are intrinsically woven into the natural world, and that all is cyclical—nothing is permanent. This wheel can serve as a tool by which we become more wholly realized individuals, embracing our soul's authentic identity. Seasons of Self invites you to jump into these four worlds—these chapters of life—get lost in them, play in them, and reflect on what they might mean to you, wherever and however you've arrived at this moment in time.