This exhibition of larger than life, chalky female figures by Salas and free hanging paintings by Brady presents the diametric choreography of the body’s lightness and weight.
The scale of the cathedral height ceilings and natural light drenching from windows nearly as tall within Meghan Brady’s new residency studio in Maine, pushed her to work larger. The transformative freedom from this shift in space became evident. Breaking from the loaded tradition of painting within the constructs of the 90 degree angle, she worked on impulse, cutting into the canvas, layering the pieced fabric in a collage of unfussy surfaces. These works breathe and float, with a looseness that reshapes the forms. Her titles, Big Wave, Blue Vessel also reference the corporeal. There is a body-intelligence and a physicality in the making, as she walks, kneels and crawls across the canvas, using the floor as her work surface. Here, Brady begins to create her deliberate and gestural marks of bold colors, which are as much about painting as they are drawing. Coming back to the traditional rectangular canvas, Brady presents smaller oil paintings capturing a similar expression to the large floating works. These sit in conference with the heroically scaled sculptures by Carolyn Salas.
Cast from styrofoam in aqua resin, hydrocal and/or cement, Salas’ Matisse-ian female figures sit and recline, atop tactile, thick geometric cement tiles. These new sculptures come from a place of abstraction and narrative with an interest in the simplification of human form, as historically seen in Egyptian carvings, or the works of Brancusi and Naum Gabo. Salas’ works are airy, yet definably physical. Each figure is constructed from a number of separate, almost 2D configurations, stacked and sandwiched together; the shapes give each object substance, while the powdery surfaces allow them to virtually disappear into the background, playing to the idea of sculptural drawing in space. These surfaces as well, are by the body, planting their own physicality; worked, sanded, layered and reworked, areas reveal the imprint of styrofoam castings shifting to a weathered granite, or marble. The concrete bases interlock to create constellations and subtle abstract lines; their forms generating a rooting gravity, empowering the female figures with statuesque monumentality.
The concurrent ethereal and physical nature in these works by Brady and Salas, mirror a similar dichotomy in their relationships with their respective traditions. Inherent here is a stance of balance. Spirited and free kinetics flow between grounded representations of the body, weighted in their making.