b'Tom ProchaskaThe Koan of the Living Ghost Amy BernsteinIn the way that the rhythm of days becomes a life, the works of painter and printmaker Tom Prochaska compose the opus of his oeuvre. As the visitor moves from one piece to another, Prochaskas muted yet sonorous scenes manifest an arc of language that is poetic and fraughtat times sentimental, at others laced with horror. He is a painters painter, whole-heartedly dedicated to a medium that demands nothing less. The act of painting is the trans-lation of a sense of lived experience made physical, an act of creation in which tension and language are only found through endless searching and reliable failure. The painter is equal parts Buddhist and masochist. And yet, Prochaskas works belie the evidence of the latter. His paintings and drawings are those executed by a master draftsmen whose subject matter is existence. A Prochaskian atmosphere is one woven by marks that relay either undulating webs of neuroses or the fragile tenuousness of being alive, while also exuding an undeniable grace. One wonders if this is the visible recipe for compassion, the illustrated juncture at which an auteurs seductive yet flawed portrayal infuses their characters with enough pathos to elicit empathy and enough respect to make beauty.Shown here are the raw underpinnings of Prochaskas thought processes: his drawings. These drawings become a language unto themselveseloquent koans that shed the heft of the oil paint in order to reveal a purity of image that is not muddled by medium. In truth, their simplicity is their strength, as nothing is superfluous: the white of the page holding the sound of the images like a drum that echoes across a canyon. The lines in these drawings are not angst-ridden but gentle, and thus their soft allure ensues. His Island I and Island II (both 2016) could be masses of land in an ocean or patches of hair on the body of a lover, the definitive here rendered inconsequential as each belongs to the tenderness of memory: intimate and imbued with hints of myth. The figures that people his work seem almost living ghosts: part death and evidenced atrocity mixed with the vulnerability of tenderness and sex. They are signifiers of a human condition, poised to poignantly evoke the idiosyncrasy of good storytelling without the unnecessary details. Their proportions are exaggerated, often elongated, with faces whose basic architecture becomes a sort of shadow mask equaling the human, as in Usual Saint (2018). These corporeal and climatic essentials give the feeling of 56'