By Christina Tian Qu, Seraphin Gallery Intern
Edited by Alyssa Laverda, Associate Director, Seraphin Gallery
Laura Sallade’s latest collection of work, The Drag Series, is an exploration of gesso on printed mylar. These notebook paper sized works are intimate and minimalist, yet curiously monumental. The gesso evokes a glacial film that delicately wraps the bark-like printed mylar, creating a dialogue between textures. The compact size of each work balances the tactile dimensions of smooth and coarse surfaces, drawing the viewer into a space of sensation and contemplation.
Each piece questions the accidental and intentional effects of mark making and, like her sculptural work with glass and reflection, this series establishes light as an essential part of Sallade’s process. The printed mylar is washed with films of milky gesso that suggest expressive strokes of paint-- hovering between the synthetic quality of the material and the organic sensations it creates.
Sallade’s medley of works on mylar presents a complex fluidity that captures our attention, imploring the viewer to question which marks were methodically planned, and which appear by chance. Sallade explains that while she plans her work, “the most important thing about having that plan is having a dual willingness to give it up.” She approaches her work “with that perpetual readiness to have something change drastically.” This "dual" nature of meticulous planning and spontaneous improvisation can be felt between the alterations of monochromatic printed mylar, which spreads out in painstaking rings throughout the composition. They are interrupted by the increasingly expressive washes of gesso which ebb and flow, creating a melodic rhythm that pulsates within each unique work.
Drag: study no. 03 demonstrates this sensation with quiet poignancy. A ring created from small etchings appear in the center of the mylar, generating a focal point that centers the work. Meanwhile, gesso is spread in wave-like drips that slowly move through the etched ring, alternating between differing shades of transparency. The gesso leaves a large area near the top half of the work uncovered, creating an organic enclave of exposed mylar that is reminiscent of an aerial view of the banks of a unique body of water. The vibrations of the etchings are close-knit and meticulous while the painterly gesso emits a melodic and free-flowing feel. These contrasting elements feed off one another in a harmonious color-field of blues, greys, whites, and blacks, simmering with a peaceful energy that can be felt throughout the collection.
Sallade engineers different chemical processes to make specific imagery. While each work requires highly technical manipulations, the created effect is palpably biological and emotive. These abstract pieces recall a deeper sense of the natural world, hidden emotions, and a connectivity with coincidence. The fortuitously positive and negative spaces created with the gesso seems to quietly question if the viewer is prepared to see and feel the creations left from a perpetual readiness for chance.
Laura Sallade is represented by Seraphin Gallery.