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If I Had the Words

An exhibition by Natalie Steigmann-Gall & Tim Connor


At Established Gallery from February 2 - February 25, 2024

Opening reception on Friday, February 2 from 7-9p

Can art viscerally express what it feels like to lose your sense of self to a cognitive disorder? A new art exhibition, If I Had the Words, by artists Natalie Steiggman-Gall and Tim Connor, explores the loss of ability through aphasia, and what it means to be a caregiver. The show is centered on the work and deep collaborative relationship of two artists 50 years apart in age. 

Natalie Steigmann-Gall (b. 1997) is a painter and elder companion working in home care. In October 2022 her agency connected her with Tim Connor (b. 1947), a retired photographer, writer and editor living with primary progressive aphasia. Connor’s rare neurological disorder causes him to gradually lose his written and verbal communication abilities. As he began to accept the loss of his primary life’s passions, Connor turned to new approaches to art-making as a vehicle for communication and expression. 

Meanwhile, Steigmann-Gall grew increasingly invested in her elder care work, forming close relationships with her clients. Brought together through a shared creative impulse, Steigmann-Gall and Connor quickly built a trusting friendship and began a methodical collaboration that supported Connor’s expanding artistic practice. The result is dozens of drawings, collages and enhanced photographs all saturated with extraordinary color. These range from abstract to representational, from anthropomorphic forms to carefully delineated images conceived from imagination.


Steigmann-Gall’s environmental portraits capture the poignancies of aging through her perspective as a caretaker. Her paintings are highly observant, attentive and sensitive - the artist’s relationships with her subjects revealed through the compositions themselves. An initial outsider to the client and their family, Steigmann-Gall observes their specific needs and histories, and responds to them in ways that take into account their personal sensibilities.  Her own emotional, intellectual, and artistic journey is hiding in plain sight in this work; a picture of the self revealed entirely through one’s relationship to others. Her body of smaller work depicts brief scenes of everyday experiences, mostly from walks that she takes with her clients - some fleeting glances at strangers and some taken from moments of hidden significance.

This exhibition offers a window into the homes of New York City’s elderly population, and into the world of one person living with dementia and a companion artist who accompanies him in an extraordinary collaboration. Through art, we can create a meaningful representation of our spirits with truthful and wild gesture, with loving attention to detail.

If I Had the Words runs from Friday, February 2nd–Sunday February 25th with an opening reception on Friday, February 2nd from 7-9pm. Established Gallery is located at 75B 6th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215. Gallery hours are Thursday–Sunday from 3–8pm. We are also available by appointment.

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