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In Japanese culture, space and time are conceived as a single entity called ‘ma’, which translates to ‘the moment’. It represents continuity, a confluence of seemingly disparate elements within a composition. ‘Ma’ is an inherent component of the materiality of the oriental scroll, for though one can move forwards and backwards through its content, only one section at a time can be considered. Rebecca Salter is fascinated by the narrative possibilities presented by such a medium, and she invokes its unique conception of depth within her own work.
Salter’s ‘BB53’ seeks to express the principle of ‘ma’ through her heavily-detailed minimal abstractions, finding points of cohesion within the optical white noise she creates. Upon first inspection, the piece seems to be merely divided into two sections, one light and one dark. Yet as one’s eyes wander the canvas, following the diagonal and criss-crossing lines etched into its layers, more shapes and gradients emerge from beneath the surface. Here, as in much of her oeuvre, Salter is challenging her audience to go beyond their first impressions; an understanding of work’s ‘ma’ is only visible upon deeper examination.