Brad Bealmear (b. 1953) is an American abstractionist, currently engaged in an ongoing series of works on paper titled Studies for a New Atmosphere, driven by climate change and our species’ devastating effects on the planet and its life. The series, expected to total 300+ works, is being donated to art museums in all US states and territories and in countries globally. He lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico USA.
Philosophic and Artistic History
In 1989, while working as a photographer for Tiffany & Co. in New York City, Bealmear self-published a small number of copies of a linocut book (Untitled I) imagining a world in which people live in total non-harm to our planet. This was followed by another self-published book in offset printing with woodcut cover in 1990 (Untitled II) taking the idea further, suggesting guidance throughout life might be achieved by asking oneself or one’s group prior to each action “Does my action harm life and earth?“ He had experienced a realization (rather suddenly in fact – while crossing 40th St. at Fifth Avenue while walking to work in April 1989) that using this means of judgment might have resulted in perpetual balance with life and earth from the time Homo sapiens began using tools, and, with our intelligence, our species would still be living in relative comfort while not facing imminent extinction. In this book and in later drawings he included drawings and dimensions of imagined early-stage “houses of earth” and circular surrounding fields and communities utilizing all waste from the inhabitants for a complete life-loop cycle. An easily-drawn and updated solar/lunar calendar was included as a foldout. Very few copies of either book survive.
In 2014, having returned to his native New Mexico and living in Santa Fe, Bealmear began teaching himself to paint. He found his discomfort with what he termed “terminating parasitic” human interactions with the planet and its life remedied somewhat by banging away with paint on a canvas. As he has said, “I watch our species in shock and awe.”
Exhibitions and Projects
In 2015 two of Bealmear’s works, Manifesto I and Manifesto V were included in the exhibition Axle Indoors at Peters Projects. In 2018 several of his paintings from the series The Reckoning were shown in the group show Outrage at City of Mud Gallery in Santa Fe. Bealmear produced several groups of paintings influenced by his philosophy between 2016 and 2019; Revisions (119 works), Days of Thunder (Días de Trueno) (41 works), Nights of the Avenging Angels (7 works), Astral Vagabond (in progress), New Atmosphere X (in progress) and Studies for a New Atmosphere (in progress).
Brad Bealmear’s artworks are found in collections internationally. He is self-represented. His work may also be viewed and purchased at Saatchi Art.
1. Bealmear was hired to set up and run the photography studio on the top floor of Tiffany & Co.’s flagship Fifth Avenue building in 1984, and was on staff through 1989. His advertising images were published in most of the world’s fashion and leisure magazines and over fifty of the company’s catalogs. He photographed for profit from junior high into his late fifties before selling his gear to concentrate on painting. He studied photography at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara CA 1974-76.
2. Originally stated in the second book as “Do I disturb the All?” Bealmear later changed the wording of this question to remove any religious connotation and cleanly state the connection to the planet our species is poisoning, encrusting, burning and killing.
3. Deducible now only by returning virtually to the dawn of our species’ use of tools, imagining ways we would have lived by the question, and bringing the results forward, also virtually, to present. Materials and changes brought by our species now exist on the planet and must be entered into the equation as things to be used, worked around or avoided.
4. This refers to Homo sapiens extracting and changing basic and extra-basic needs from the planet and its life without return of our waste or dead bodies to the topsoil in a naturally-usable manner, and without equal return or assisted return of materials and life taken in a natural way and timely manner, or otherwise in most cases.