Oil on Canvas
120cm x 105cm
Courtesy of the artist and La Petit Mort Gallery, Ottawa, Canada
The Smallest Heart's Desire
May 3 – June 2, 2013
I am intrigued by the concept of truth and representation. Part of this has to do with my own personal struggles as conveyed through the notion that who one portrays in life is only part-truth – a performance executed on a multitude of levels. In many respects, identity is a performance executed through different guises, where as both individual and artist I'm curious to share this with my viewer through a limited articulation of the human face. The title, The Smallest Heart's Desire, simultaneously references the formal properties of the works themselves, a cheeky reference to the scale of the paintings as well as the narrative explored. In my most recent (previous) solo exhibition, I took a conceptual look at misanthropy, and with these works, I continue this journey: the smallest heart is a metaphor for my own shortcomings and the process I have taken, and continue to take, toward resolution. The eponymous desire refers to that pursuit toward fulfillment so relevant and specific to each of us.
Certainly the works are not meant to be celebrations of humanity's (or my own) glory, but are meant to explore the curious or unspoken aspects of 'self'. I have set to unfold the darkest corners of my own self-awareness, which proves to be a trying task, and upon reflection, it occurs to me that I often consider myself something of an anti-hero of my own creation. To present a series of works in which my subjects appear 'triumphant' is of little interest to me, since I believe there is more to excavate and portray from human nature in the poetry of discontentment, the awareness of oneself, or one's affect on his environment.
In the process I have taken myself out of the equation through a series of stand-ins, disguises, and doubles, in which an autobiographical perspective is explored through the use of a representative of sorts. Here, identities are obscured as a series of masks - figures lurk behind abstraction – but our cognitive processes still tie together and absolve what the subject himself lacks. I become narrator, weaving myself and my subjects in-and-out of fact and myth: where their histories end and my identity begins remains purposefully ambiguous.
The references to performance and masquerade in the titles of the works are resolutely intentional, and these were (and are) the formative elements that inspired and fuelled this exhibition from the very beginning. I see the whole show as a tiny little opera, in acts, with characters who are all kind of tragic and kind of ambiguous. My process is like the actor who adorns a tribal mask, which elevates someone from a corporeal self into a transcendent being – he is able to become a different person…As i am through the act of painting. At times I'm uncertain where I become only a medium for expression, like the ritual, the performance, or the metonym: the passing of one identity into another.
Andrew Salgado (b. 1982, Regina, Canada) has exhibited in the United Kingdom, Germany, Scandinavia, Australia, Venezuela, Thailand, Korea, Canada, and the United States. His bold, assertive, and generally large-scale figurative paintings have placed him as one-to-watch in both the UK's and North America's painting scenes; his recent solo exhibitions include In Order To Rebuild; Dosi Gallery, Busan, Korea (2012); and The Misanthrope; Beers.Lambert Contemporary, London, (2012). Forthcoming solo exhibitions include The Acquaintance, his first institution-exhibition at his home-town in The Art Gallery of Regina, Canada (Jan 2013); and solo exhibitions at La Petite Mort Gallery, Ottawa, Canada (May 2013); and One Art Space in New York City (October 2013).
Salgado's practice is an evolving process exploring concepts of identity through assertive, gestural figurative paintings. Salgado's practice (re)considers the tangibility and impermanence of the body, but also inwardly comments upon the fragility of self. Accordingly, Salgado exploits the purely physical properties of media to inform resonating themes within his work. In an effort to surpass a literal (re)presentation of his subject-matter, he prioritizes a visceral, sensual, topographic painting surface, toward an evolving language of figuration and abstraction. The work asks for consideration of what is visible, what is tangible, and what is suggested: pulling the viewer from the sutures of representation, and drawing attention to the painterly versus the metaphorical.
Salgado's paintings have hung in London's Courtauld Institute of the Arts (2010) alongside Tracy Emin and Gary Hume, was the highest-grossing work ever donated to Canada's esteemed Art For Life (18th Annual) Charity Auction (2011); included in the Merida Biennale of Contemporary Art (2010), the NordArt Carlshutte Biennale (2012); and is often featured in press and magazines, such as METRO, The Independent, Shortlist, Yatzer!, Juxtapoz, Colossal, Booooooom!, Beautiful Decay, Paradigm, Chaos, TOH! Italia. In 2011 he was featured in the Channel 4 (UK) documentary The Science of Art alongside artists Anish Kapoor, Howard Hodgkins, and Bridget Riley (2011). He has lived and worked in London, UK since 2008.
"At a time when painting itself often seems to be a threatened, even despised, form of artistic activity, Andrew Salgado emerges as a dazzlingly skillful advocate for the medium he has chosen to embrace."
- Edward Lucie-Smith, 2012
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