p a i n t i n g s b y e r i c s a l l
July 9 – September 18 | 2022
Sunday | September 18 | 1-4 pm
Casual conversations with the artist
Refreshments | Free admission
Eric Sall keeps on the move. Perhaps this fact seeps into his paintings, characterized by their movement, ephemeral feel, and nearly kaleidoscopic effect.
Colossal canvases filled with line, color, and depth serve to envelop viewers. Contrasting elements come together to form playful works that invite close analysis.
Sall said of his paintings in 2014: “Stylistically you could say they are abstract, though my paintings often allude to the presence of something: a familiar object, a reminiscent form, a shape.” This rings true today, where certain shapes and lines can conjure something else… but it can be hard to put a finger on.
Sall’s practice is rooted in the region, and continues today in Oklahoma, but his work has seen him crisscross the nation. After receiving a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, Sall received his MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University. In subsequent years the artist has spent time in New York, New Mexico, and Iowa as part of residencies, and his work has been shown as far as Seoul, South Korea.
The paintings begin as pastel drawings on raw, stretched canvas.
I simply start by making a thick line using the square shaped pastel stick on its side, and every other line that follows is a response to the one that came before it. On certain canvases I use only black pastel and on others I use assorted colors. Sometimes a pattern is made, other times a more random system takes shape. Once I determine that the drawing is finished, I apply a clear matte medium over the surface to ‘fix’ the drawing in place. The soft pastel is easy to smudge, and so I work carefully to preserve the drawing as much as possible, using large trowels to apply the liquid matte medium. Sometimes I allow the trowel to make its own mark on the surface, leaving behind a residue of a gesture and the texture of the medium.
Once the drawing is set under several layers of matte medium, I start applying oil paint. Each painting presents a unique set of concerns to address. I might choose to highlight the pastel drawing by carefully painting on or around the lines in a way that reinforces the pattern, or I might decide to drag a large swath of thick paint directly over the drawing as a way to create space and a sense of depth. Often I do both. I mix colors in cups for brush application but I also apply paint to the surface directly out of the tube. Sometimes I scoop up leftover paint with a knife and flick it onto the canvas. I switch back and forth between painting hard-edged, geometric shapes and more loose, organic gestures. If I paint in one style for too long, I tend to respond by painting something in a different way, using a different tool. In the process, the paintings go through various stages where things seem to either ‘work’ or not, and there is no good way to judge this other than by trusting my intuition and my experience. There is a balancing act between spontaneity and calculation that I am frequently negotiating, because the paintings have their own logic, and my concerns are not literal. Rather, I’m motivated by revelations that happen in the process of the painting becoming one thing and then another, and then another, and then another. – E r i c S a l l
ERIC SALL received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has attended the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program in Brooklyn, NY, the LMCC Workspace residency in New York, NY, the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, Roswell, NM, and the Yale Summer Program of Music and Art, Norfolk, CT. Sall is the recipient of an Art in Architecture commission from the General Services Administration, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, a Virginia Museum of Fine Art Fellowship, and a Charlotte Street Fund Award. Recent shows include Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, MO, Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK; Joseph Nease Gallery, Duluth, MN; Orth Contemporary, Tulsa OK; Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM; BravinLee Gallery, New York, NY; Regina Rex Gallery, Queens, NY; ADA Gallery, Richmond, VA; Brain Factory, Seoul, South Korea; Nerman Museum of Fine Arts, Overland Park, KS; and Bemis Art Center, Omaha, NE. Eric is currently residing in Tulsa, Ok, as a fellow of The Tulsa Artist Fellowship, a program of the George Kaiser Family Foundation.