of Sasha Rogers New Works
by Sky Glabush
September 2001 Lonsdale gallery
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 Bahaullah
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
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
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 blades 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.