Laura Sallade: Any Versus All
“John Cage is an important inspiration to me. He taught me to love chaos and the randomness of life, that artists are not simply seeking to control unwieldy matter, rather seeking to wake it up to the very life we are living. Photographer Robert Adams said, ‘What an artist attempts to do is to make something that will convince us of life’s value.’ For me, these two points are closely related.
In an empty and overgrown lot there may be the imprint of a stairwell that once clung to the wall, graffiti, half-torn wheat pasted images, poorly matched rolls of paint, and remnants of painters tape, all marked with the decay of weather and time. When observing the skin of this landscape, I feel as though I’m looking through a time capsule of layers that simultaneously disregard one another yet together create something new: evidence that the ground on which I stand is saturated with unnamed histories. When I stand before these walls, I feel that “now” contains so much more than the present moment.
I love the way John Cage speaks about traffic and ambient sounds, calling them music in the truest sense. Similarly, when I look at these walls, I see a painting, a relief sculpture, a collaborative work. Driven by materiality and process, I am less interested in rendering these walls, and more interested in tapping into the process by which they are made. I want to place disregarding layers together and allow them to point to the chaos, to wake up to the very life we’re living, and make a case for its value.”
-Laura Sallade, 2022
Any Versus All presents a new collection of silver and mixed media works from Laura Sallade that continue the artist’s investigation into the relationship between light and material. Sallade’s practice, developed through non-traditional paint application, caustic removal, and vigorously layered mixed media, thoroughly explores her materials’ capacities and limits - how they enhance, neutralize, conserve, or destabilize one another. Resulting from both scientific examination and introspection, the artist’s works are luminous, mirror-like, and multi-layered, producing an intense depth within a two-dimensional surface. Through these experiential works, Sallade communicates a mysterious and paradoxical understanding of the world through observation, drawing, materiality, and making.
Visually inspired by artists including Pat Steir, Gerhardt Richter and Jose Parla, Sallade challenges her viewers to think critically, pay close attention and take a moment for contemplation. In this body of work, the artist takes specific inspiration from the empty and overgrown lots of Philadelphia, where she lives. With each new layer radically different from the next, the artist produces unpredicted effects which reference the chaotic colors, textures, and pulse of the city’s energy.
Constantly questioning how to divest herself from the material and instead use it as a learning tool, the artist commits to working from an energizing humility rather than an exhausting ego. Her process is technically complex and distinct, using controlled chemical reactions and manipulating carefully selected materials, including glass, silver nitrate, mylar and resin to produce multi-layered reflective creations. Both analytical and intuitive, the artist employs math, optics, memory and play to create evocative gestural works that walk the line between image and object.
Laura Sallade has exhibited throughout Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, Montana and Maryland, including group exhibitions at the Piano Craft Gallery in Boston, MA (2022), the Ann Marie Sculpture Garden & Art Center in Solomons, MD (2021), and the Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill, PA (2015). She obtained a Certificate in Sculpture from The Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 2013 and, during her studies, was awarded numerous grants and scholarships including the PAFA Fellowship Prize, the Richard C. Von Hess Travel Scholarship, the Susan Land Memorial Prize for Printmaking, and the Wolf Scholarship in Honor of Peter Paone. Sallade was selected for the Lackland Well Artist in Residence (2021), the Longwood University Visiting Artist (2021) and the NextFab Artisan Accelerator Fellowship (2021). She has recently been awarded the Michael Tomassoni Scholarship (2021), the Jurors Award from the Ann Marie Sculpture Garden & Art Center in Solomons, MD (2021) and Philly Current Magazine’s ‘Best of Philadelphia’ (2019). Sallade’s work has been commissioned for the permanent collections of the Ritz Carlton in Amelia Island, FL, Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, the Atlantic Aviation Airport in Philadelphia, PA, Vail Resort in Vail, CO, Anthropologie Clothing Stores in Philadelphia, PA & New York City, NY, and Dualtone Music Group in Nashville, TN. Her artwork is found in private collections around the world in cities such as Paris, Philadelphia, New York City, San Diego, Marseille and Nantucket. The artist lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.