For his first personal exhibition in Belgium, Mason Saltarrelli has chosen a title which contains an inspiring temporal brilliance: Four Seasons In One Day. Compressing a period of time into a single day, compiling sensations spread over time into that one day. Apart from the interpretations that each viewer will make, this title is a perfect illustration of Salterrelli’s work.
One could say that there are two forms of time co-existing when we discover his painting. On the one hand, an overall vision, quick, fleeting. And then, after a pause, a possibility of entering into the depths of the work.
It would be interesting to interpret his work through the filter of Zen Buddhism. The reduction of effects, the simplicity of shape, constant repetition of certain motifs, the ordinary tinged with intensity, ... All of this makes us think of koans, those very simple or even absurd Zen stories, told by the master to the disciple. One could see a self-effacement behind this painting, a quest for emptiness, a direct experience on the canvas emanating from a sudden emergence rather than a slow intellectualisation of shapes and colours. The titles are also symptomatic in their openness and freedom of interpretation: Opera Singer Singing; Leaves Leaving, Fall; Possible Path, Possible Portrait; Observation of an Eclipse; Trees in a Forest.
Underlying an apparent simplicity, Saltarrelli’s painting creates a resonance between an inner world and an outside world. By developing a vocabulary of abstract shapes open to multiple interpretations, viewers are able to take in and remember what they see and project onto it what they want to see. The strength of abstraction is when it uses shapes that we can transfer to the real world.
Of course these pathways into abstraction have been explored by illustrious predecessors, but there are still as many stories to be told today as there were in the past. The fictional space never runs dry.
We can also pick out rhythm as a constant in Saltarrelli’s work. For example, we find it in the hanging, since the works are spaced out sufficiently to avoid any contagion or contamination of each other. But the perception of rhythm is manifest in the paintings themselves. The structuring of shapes sometimes seems like an echo of a chant or a melancholy melody. In fact, the title, Four Seasons In One Day, is reminiscent of Vivaldi but one can also find disruption and changes which have more jazzy connotations.
Ultimately, these paintings are fragments of vast expanses. They seem to be extracted according to a precise ritual which comes from the world of Buddhism and a saxophonist in the middle of a solo.