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Statements |  Sky Glabush Review

Review of Sasha Rogers New Works
by Sky Glabush
September 2001 Lonsdale gallery

Painters have long since strived to express those areas of existence that elude the spoken word and slip away from language and intent. For how does one describe those evanescent, fleeting moments when our rootedness in the corporeal present is sloughed away in an overwhelming loss of self? Take for example the unutterable feeling of smallness when consumed in the operatic zeal of a thunderstorm. How do we articulate and speak our presence in front of the limitless depths of the ocean or the grand theatre of that sky? In the writings of Baha’u’llah can be found a moving illustration of our often ineffectual yearning to comprehend and express the Divine. He writes:

From eternity Thou hast been removed far above the reach and the ken of the comprehension of Thy servants, and immeasurably exalted above the strivings of Thy bond slaves to express Thy mystery. What power can the shadowy creature claim to possess when face to face with Him Who is the Uncreated?

Aware of the daunting prospect before her, Sasha Rogers is striving with intelligence and determination to address this immensity with tones of color and light. Her paintings are rooted in the landscape but are leaning toward that inexpressible essence situated somewhere between what is seen and what is felt.

Sasha Rogers’ paintings are not simple descriptions of the landscape but attempts to consecrate this space while acknowledging the limitations of its corporeal condition. Painting itself is a testimony to the to the physicality of materials bending towards something else, striving to become. Painting is an exercise constrained by its own illusory nature as a superficial skin of pigment suspended on a thin piece of cloth or paper. Yet while conceding its illusion, its flatness, painting is always referring away from itself asking the viewer to look beyond its static, mute, condition to see within it a metaphorical.

Poetic glimpse of reality. In this way Sasha /Rogers’ landscapes are pointing away from place and dwell within the atmospheric, qualities of light and space as opposed to the graphic, descriptive qualities of line. For what little there is of the graphic or drawn is found within the tight sliver of the horizon line, the point in which one state is divided from another. The simple division of a painting into two parts provides Rogers with a forum with which to reduce her paintings to the essential questions she needs to ask. In her endeavor to communicate ideas of the physical and spiritual, light and matter, contingent and eternal, Rogers is able to create a sharp, almost fierce dialogue between these divergent fields.

But as I have pointed out these are not graphic paintings. With drawing being limited to a horizontal dissection she is forced to convey her ideas through color, tonality, and texture. And she is able to use these qualities to great effect especially in her use of glazing and translucent layers of paint, which allows for color to flow through one part of the painting and reveal a haunting inner light. This layering of paint is delicate, crating an almost brocaded surface. And while delicacy can be mistaken for fragility, even daintiness, Sash Rogers has managed to turn refinement into an almost voracious sensuality. It is like complicated and ornate Baroque etchings on a dagger. Outwardly decorative and appealing, there is an inner portentousness that makes its way through these polished surfaces. In "Veil" for example, there is a straightforward, almost cliché depiction of a light, wispy sky contrasted against a dark acrid ground. The deceptive simplicity and calmness of this space is disturbed, almost violently interrupted by a scrape of red that bleeds through the dark ground and throws into commotion the relative ease of the rest of the piece. In "Lifting Light" the streak of pale blue that runs across the horizon divides the two planes with the sharpness of a blade’s edge. It is in this punctuation of a smooth, gentile atmosphere countered by the force of color that Sasha Rogers has found a way to turn the limits of her working methodology into a rather daunting skillfulness. It is here that she is able to approach the contradictions of the finite and the Divine with conviction and certitude lending a voice to those who cry out in this immensity.

 

 

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