CAROLYN SALAS STUDIO VISIT
Carolyn Salas’ work is something to behold. Her cut-out white sculptures and large graphite-like sculptures are slightly reminiscent of something along the lines of a Matisse cut-out that has taken 3-dimensional form. Her work evokes a sense of power while remaining light. She takes overlooked materials and textures and gives them a life all their own.
1. What do the forms of the cut-out and graphite-like sculptures in your recent body of work represent to you?
In my most recent body of work I use the mold making and casting process to create installations and sculptures. The cut-out forms and wall pieces are assemblages I create out of found or sourced Styrofoam. I like that these pieces hold a history or past. Their markings reveal time. Through the casting process their memory is encapsulated and embedded in the material. I'm interested in showing the hand in my works through a raw immediacy. Revealing that rawness exposes a parallel to the failure of our everyday. When approaching the graphite works I am considering the figure, its movement in space and its relationship to its surroundings. The graphite piece's contorting shapes reflect emotion, and a struggle with self, both physiological and physical. Both bodies of work act in conversation by framing the other. There is a ridiculousness in the labor of making that then becomes glorified.
2. Color has been a notable element in your past work. What inspired your focus on graphite and white in your more recent series’?
In this body of work my focus was formally on shape, form, composition and movement in order to avoid distraction I momentarily worked monochromatically with the idea that color would come back into play after I resolved these investigations.
3. Is there something that draws you to working with a given material? Does a material ever precede the actual conception of a work -- could it inspire a series?
While I am excited or inspired by working with new materials that challenge me, concept and form have to work in unison for me to think that a work is successful or not. Many failures are faced in the studio before that can happen.
4. You share a beautiful studio with your partner Adam Parker Smith. How does the dynamic of sharing a space with someone you’re close to influence your practice?
He is my harshest critic and biggest fan, it's good to have both on hand when needed.
5. Can you tell us about the current project you have in Baltimore?
I just finished up a new series of small table top sculptures that I'm excited to be exhibiting in a two person show at Phoebe Projects in Baltimore. Its run by artist Alex Ebstein. I'm showing alongside painter Jordan Kasey. Both of these artists are doing great things and are well worth checking out!
6. What are you most excited about in 2016?
I will be working towards a solo exhibition with Paramo Gallery in Guadalajara. While in Mexico I will collaborate with a textile company on some new pieces for the show. I am looking forward to what will transpire from partnership. I will also be participating in group shows at the CUE Foundation in New York curated by Rachel Reese and Townson University in Maryland as well as training for my second New York City marathon in November.