Variations on a Theme
ONE Art Space, New York City
1 May – 6 June 2014
Salgado describes his artistic concern as one of the centrifugal rings rippling outward in a pond, always related to that initial ‘rock-‐drop’ incident, but no longer dependent upon it for motivation. That initial incident? A widely publicized 2008 assault that Salgado has moved on from in both his personal life and now, never more evidently, in his art.
Variations refers to patterns explored in Classical music; the same explorations are paralleled in Classical art, and for Salgado, Variations allowed for a chance to truly open his conceptual standpoint and explore what was of interest to the artist. However, the result is a remarkably cohesive, thoughtful series of works of profound depth and complexity.
Salgado’s concerns are changing, slightly, to become about the process: the act of painting is the motivating factor, and this series is in fact inspired by both a so-‐called ‘inclusionist’ review of the history of art itself, as well as Salgado’s very own process in the studio. Detritus from the studio ﬂoor is now elevated to new meaning and sometimes copied, transposed, or even applied to the canvas itself: including brushes, canvases, advertisements, paint tubes and bottle caps. It is never indulgent or with a gimmick, but rather in a method where Salgado’s studio is that of think-‐tank, a laboratory of experimentation where ideas are charged and generated. One need only visit his East London studio to understand how this space, covered from ﬂoor to ceiling in paint and the waste from paint-‐related material, is Salgado’s creative engine.
Picasso said: “good artists borrow; great artists steal.” As viewers, we are privy to a growing series of recurring motifs that may (or may not) allude to latter‐day Bacon, Picasso, Caravaggio, Matisse, or even Salgado’s peers.
Here the artist is putting on various hats, from any previous conceptual baggage and fully inspired. In an initial viewing, a friend mistook the central ﬁgure in Green Dionysus as Salgado’s; (it’s not) and while Salgado corrected the friend, it seems Salgado has found his own through Variations.