Gene Skala’s oil paintings are primarily landscapes. The degree to which the landscape is prominent or apparent depends on what he chooses to depict in the foreground (objects, symbols and constructions, etc.). In some ways, he’s creating small theatre sets with props and leaving it to the viewer to decide the content of an imaginary performance or narrative.
Since he tends to paint in a realistic manner, his work is easily interpreted as surrealism, but his intention is to create pictures in the spirit of the symbolists. His work is aligned to its explorations into mysteries found in nature and his experience of it.
Chicago painter Tony Philips remarked to him, “your paintings are about the dreamer acknowledging the reality of their own dream and their presence within it, whether in actuality or in a felt sense.” It’s an astute observation and a very precise description of how he feels when making his work.