Rebecca Salter

AJ35, 2016

mixed media on paper

98 x 92 cm

Between £ 3000 - 10,000


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Artwork
Description

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Rebecca Salter trained as a ceramicist in Britain prior to attending Kyoto University of the Arts in Japan. The influence of these formative experiences is apparent in her minimalist abstractions, as Japanese aesthetic values inform her meticulous application of tactile elements. Having worked previously as a sculptor, Salter is particularly concerned with the physical materiality of her pieces. Canvas and paper are scratched, bent and burned to form a textual basis for her layered compositions.  

Salter’s meticulous application of marks and materials results in artworks that are as energised as they are peaceful. In the selected work, a speckling of white dots floats above a grey plane that has been texturally manipulated, vertical lines scratched into the surface of the pigment. These linear forms generate depth in the core of the composition, subtly guiding the viewer’s eye amidst the layer of white marks. The grey plane and white overlay are based against a stark black background, which outlines the foremost layers and compels the eye to the composition’s center. These applications of color, textual manipulation, and mark-making energise the composition while subtly guide the viewer through it, stimulating a meditative way of looking.

About
the artist

Rebecca Salter (British, b.1955) was elected Royal Academician in 2014 and Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools in 2017. She lives and works in London.

In the 1970s, after graduating from the Bristol Polytechnic as a ceramicist, Salter moved to Japan to study at the Kyoto City University of the Arts. There, far from home, Salter struggled to integrate herself with the rest of the student and artist community: she had to overcome cultural and linguistic barriers first. She spent six years in the country, putting herself, her practice and Western history of art into question before deciding it was time to go back home to the United Kingdom.

The result of such a journey of (re)discovery is her incredibly beautiful and distinctive abstract work on canvas and paper. Found at the intersection between Western and Japanese traditions, her practice seeks to bridge a gap between two fundamentally different conceptions of art. In her paintings and drawings, Salter applies notions of mark-making that, traditionally, pertain to calligraphy; the distinction between front and back of the canvas disappears, as the artist focuses on creating an object existing in space, rather than a painted surface; she revisits the great Romantic tradition of landscape and weather painting, through the use of the line, rather than colour.

Salter’s works are heavily detailed minimal abstractions, particular emphasis is given to the interplay between marked and unmarked space on the canvas. The presence of white space is a critical trait of Salter’s work and reveals the relationship the artist has with the concerns of the Hasegawa School of painting. Salter often cites Hasegawa’s Pine Trees as a highly important work for her own practice. The layering of neutral tones often suffuses the work with an ethereal quality, the muted colours offering a tranquil, yet spellbinding, response to nature. Frequently, the use of vertical and horizontal planes structures the work: one is invited to draw from the abstractions a sense of landscape and depth.

Her works can be viewed as obsessive, meditative, delicate, or forceful but they are all, ultimately, bewitching.

Salter has also had a number of architectural commissions, which include both Guy’s Hospital and St George’s Hospital. She has been an artist in residence at Lofoten in Norway and Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Connecticut. In 2011, Salter had a major retrospective at the Yale Center for British Art: into the light of things 1981-2010.


Salter’s works are heavily detailed minimal abstractions, particular emphasis is given to the interplay between marked and unmarked space on the canvas. The layering of neutral tones often suffuses the work with an ethereal quality, the muted colours offering a tranquil, yet spellbinding, response to nature.


Rebecca Salter
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

March 29th, 2018 until
April 24th, 2018
Curated by ARTUNER