Carolyn Salas Hang Up, 2013, Installation view at Dodge Gallery, NY
Photo: Carly Gaebe
Currently on view at DODGE Gallery, located in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, is Carolyn Salas, Hang Up. This is the artists first solo exhibition with the gallery and presents three main works of various media and approach. Each of these works is large in scale and interacts with the physical space of the gallery while also presenting a relationship whereas each comments on the presence of the other.  In reference to what theorists refer to as the other, Salas makes work that is very personal to her physical presence and association with space. However within the context of a gallery, we as viewers are now also part of the installation, a variable force that either adds to or takes away from the power of an individual object as it relates to a singular or in this case multiple bodies.
Carolyn Salas, Self Portrait, 2013, concrete, ceramic, found objects, 16 x 102 x 94 inches.
Photo: Carly Gaebe
The three artworks in the exhibition are Hang Up (also the title of the show), Self Portrait, and Untitled. All the works are 2013 and while materialistically different, they each form a stage of sorts, a place for thought and contemplation or somewhere where gesture and performance could occur. Initially, the installation speaks of painting and the interaction of pigment, medium and surface. The artist seems to have a direct association with painting and still-life in particular. This rings true specifically in Hang Up a work made of deconstructed canvas that has been tinted. The work almost appears to have been tie-dyed and then meticulously shredded in neat rows. From the press release:

“Each panel is angled to visually connect and spatially segment the area of the room. Using geometric abstraction to define space, the panel’s formations are reminiscent of the modular designs found in Herman Miller’s cubicles, creating private spaces in public places. Installed in the gallery, the curtain-like structures become monumental in scale, undulating geometric and organic patterns that ooze with color, while simultaneously balancing the fragility in texture and make-up of construction.”

Another work that is quite particular is Self Portrait, a series of hand crafted cement slabs that are suspended about six inches above the floor by various found objects.  The unevenness of the form that is made by the materials lends itself to abstract landscape and one that might not necessarily be reminiscent of a “self portrait”. But what exactly is a self portrait? It can be anything that is determined as such. Maybe the artist feels the weight of life on her shoulders or is just fascinated by the objects themselves and imprints her own identity into the semiotic arrangement. Of this particular work, Salas states:

“For me the act of making the sculptures becomes so physical, a sort of “tug a war” with the material and myself, for instance when making “Self Portrait”. Making these large cement slabs can be somewhat quick and easy but then I am left with their weight and struggle with moving them around the studio, arranging them,rearranging them… sometimes making them too big I cannot move at all.   As much as I am drawn to the material I am also repelled. Many personal associations come up for me during the physical act of making and then with whats been made.  Expanding on this idea I explore ways of working within certain parameters while remaining open to chance and experimentation.  The studio in a sense acts as a dance floor, performing, moving, breaking, falling and getting back up again; the objects, wall pieces and installations capture the imperfections and human attributes of burdens, failures and achievements of our everyday.”

There is both a sense of removal and insertion in the works as they play on the perception of physical space, representation, and abstraction. Each piece appears to have had a debate with its own idea of construct and the resulting sculptures are what have won in the conceptual battle. Maybe it is just that, the remains of form that equal something unexpected and this is where the self portrait lies.
 Carolyn Salas, Untitled, 2013, aqua resin, fiberglass, hydrocal, graphite powder,
100 x 94 x 4 inches. Photo: Carly Gaebe

Carolyn Salas: Hang Up is on view at DODGE Gallery until February 17th, 2013. She will also have a small work in the De Joode & Kamutzki auction taking place in Berlin and live streaming in New York on Sunday, January 27th, 2013.

More soon.