Sadie Benning: The Touch, the Amulet and the Saltation
1700 S Santa Fe Ave #101, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Saturday, March 23 at 4:00 PM 6:00 PM
Ends May 4, 2024
Vielmetter Los Angeles is thrilled to present The Touch, the Amulet and the Saltation, an exhibition of sixteen new paintings by Sadie Benning. The Touch, the Amulet and the Saltation ruminates on a triad of interrelating conceits: the desire for connection, the need for safety and the want for an expansive change in how we experience and communicate love. Referencing evolutionary biology, the word saltation signifies sudden and large scale mutations from one generation to the next—though the term is invoked here more poetically with regard to transformation, imparting questions around what is required to sustain lasting and profound advancements in the way we care for and honor one another while on earth—and also after death. Through an experimental process which Benning has developed over the past two decades, these wall-mounted works transgress the singular categories of painting, drawing and sculpture. The manipulation of materials occurs through stages of translation: going from a digital image to a projected transparency to an outline drawn by hand on wood, to the final, three-dimensional result, which is cut out with a jigsaw, coated with aqua resin, sanded, painted, buffed and fit back together. Benning imbues each work with their touch and thought processes—an embodied, ever sentient, quality emanating from each finished painting. The Touch, the Amulet and the Saltation is comprised of brightly colored abstract works which center on points of contact, and white figurative works, some of which are imbedded with jewelry and other talismans—as if to suggest how we assign poetry to objects in order to communicate desires for protection and remembrance. The figurative works also endeavor to imagine how people uncannily infuse matter with their personal energies, and how these energies persist, ghostlike. At turns playful and deeply serious, Benning explores the transformative function of grief—who we are compelled to remember when they are gone—that is, when they are no longer seeable or touchable and must be accessed internally—and how intimacy with loss expands our capacity for love. The power of these works cumulatively is such that transformation itself becomes an amulet—a form of protection grounded in metamorphosis through true reverence and tenderness.
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