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Statements |  The Placeless Place

Ross Woodman, Professor Emeritus
University of Western Ontario
January 2000


In each of Sasha Rogers’s new series of paintings, there is a point of entry between light and darkness, sky and earth, water and earth, day and night, spirit and matter where the eye suddenly connects and is left free to roam. Without this point of entry, offering an immediate point of connection, vision might empty itself into some uncontained immensity that Sasha Rogers calls the placeless. Giving the placeless a place is what these paintings are about. They contain the uncontained without, in any way, prescribing it. Once the placeless is placed, the eye, finding its point of entry even before it knows it is searching, free to wander, setting in motion a psychic process that resembles the dreaming state raised up out of the unconscious into some more immediate awareness of its activity. The eye wanders freely at an invitation of paint that carries it into spaces that the waking state seals into familiar landscapes r seascapes. The familiar opens itself, takes us into what lies hidden and waiting within it, the way sometimes a conversation between intimates can move into places where neither ahs been before, or consciously remembers being before. Yet here suddenly they are, led by love and trust, and whatever in them presides. They know where they are in a way that no other mode of knowing will allow.

"I entreat Thee by Thy footsteps in this wilderness and by the words ‘Here am I’. Here am I’ which Thy chosen One have uttered in this immensity". Wilderness marked by footsteps to which we respond as if searching for a meaning and a direction. "Here am I. Her am I", it seems to me, is a mark of entry that announces a presence that presides in all these paintings. This presence is at once the presence of the painter and the presence of the observer who accepts her invitation. The rest is, in a very real sense, whatever henceforth takes place between them. Between them and a third, best described as the inspiration of the work. With boldness, a variety, a subtlety, and a discretion that never becomes invasive, these paintings call the soul into activity, orchestrating its action into a music of the spheres delicately attuned to our earthly hearing.

In Memories, Dreams, Reflections, the noted depth psychologist, Carl Jung, describes a drama in which he comes upon a wayside chapel and, finding the door open, he enters. Inside, in front of the altar sits a Yogi in the lotus position immersed in meditation. When he looks more closely at him, Jung sees that the Yogi has his face. "Aha" he said to himself when he awoke, "so he is the one who is meditating me. He has a dream, and I am it." "I knew," Jung, concludes, "that when he awakened, I would no longer be". By which he presumably meant what we are, whether in sleep or awake, is but an image of who we really are. What her, awake or asleep, we are engaged in is a complex process of becoming whose ultimate and eternal product must her remains unknown. Sasha Rogers respects the mystery of the unknown sufficiently to remain content with the process, a process that this series of paintings wonderfully portrays as a process of paint. By allowing the material characteristics of paint to become themselves the content of her work, without upstaging or usurping its content less object, Sasha Rogers’ new paintings display, without vanity and as astonishments to the eye, that her own soul, active in her studio as in some sacred place, is perhaps most astonished by.

 

 

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