An internationally renowned Colombian abstractionist, this show marks the artist’s first New York exhibition at WhiteBox. The stunning, multifaceted project is a compelling synthesis—with variations—of his most recent Museum of Contemporary Art Miami show ‘Latin America and the Global Imagination’.
Salas’s work, inspired by Carl Jung’s concepts of the collective unconscious and Joseph Campbell’s work in comparative mythology, investigates the potential of pure, unbounded imagination in the artistic process. Salas has been engaged in a wide range of activities and initiatives in art-making and discoursing: painting, sculpting, installation, film and writing to tackle head-on the state of the human condition vis- à-vis art. His work is a site for exploration of the boundaries in which human subjectivity is located, where Salas poses questions that reveal the limits of particular theoretical frameworks, while calling for a critical current engagement across traditions and cultures. A manifold of diverse trajectories and experiences of contemporary issues comprise his expansive oeuvre, constantly scrutinizing all possible intersections explored from unexpected angles, proposing new examinations and counter narratives.
Constantly questioning the very basis of what constitutes abstraction, Carlos Salas tests the limits of our personal understanding. Salas is responsible for essential advancements in furthering and decoding abstraction today. The artist’s blazing spirit is evident in his elaborate brush strokes that resemble scratches and scars that—while open to interpretation and analysis, eg, the Colombian environment at large—cannot hide the artist’s intensity, existential passion, and aesthetic genius.
As a practical tool of communicating the viewer Salas’s origins in his abstract painting, the exhibition includes an interactive set of scattered video screens adroitly interspersed among his large abstract paintings. The film, dexterously and intimately directed by Ana Salas, the artist’s daughter, feeds visual fragments embodying the process, routine, and environment of the making of ‘Into the Abyss’, the centerpiece painting in the exhibition.