The natural world and its processes have always formed the center of my work.
What began with a series of sundials, as a meditation on celestial mechanics and the nature of time gradually and, when viewed in retrospect, inexorably evolved and transformed itself into a fascination with water. This evolution took place on both the topical and formal levels, which are inseparably intertwined and have informed each other over years.
The idea that gave rise to the sundial series led to Garden of the Sacred Light
, a three-dimensional work that incorporated living plants. Water was omnipresent in these works, even if it was not necessarily visible. In Growth
, seeds incorporated into the handmade paper that supported the work sprouted, flourished and declined over the period it was on display. The piece could not have existed without water, but its presence was hidden beneath a layer of vegetation. Other works in this series incorporated glass containers holding living plants or, as in Grotto
, vials of water that provided constant nourishment. These too grew as they were exhibited, expressing the constant of change in the universe. The glass also played a formal role in making the roots of these changes visible.
The more I immersed myself in the elements I used in my work, the more conscious I became of the ecological issues, which surrounded them. My concern with the global environment, with the little noticed results of daily life in an industrialized world increased exponentially. Visits to the rainforest in Venezuela, showed me the results of using mercury in the area’s goldmines and inspired a new theme which incorporated the area’s insects on fields of gold leaf, which served as a comment on the inherent value of the “lowly invertebrate” and as an ironic observation on the conditions which endangered them.
These concerns also led me to create contemporary ambers to contain today’s disappearing life forms. Here again, the concept of value is inherent in the presentation, as is the notion of potential extinction. The idea of transparency was also vital to the conception and expression of the work, just as it had been with the garden of light. Creating these resin-based contemporary ambers introduced new ways of dealing with fluid dynamics that were quite different than those I had previously encountered with ink and paint.
The idea of poisoned streams flowed naturally into a concern with aquatic life that I continue to explore. Seeking ways of expressing those concerns visually led me directly to the source which links humanity, plants and animals alike – water. Like no other subject I have approached, water demands new solutions to representing transparency, motion and the dynamic nature of natural phenomenon. Working with lenticular images has given me an entirely new approach to my art and the subjects, which inspire it.
In summary, my art is an attempt to refocus human vision on the too often unnoticed and underappreciated elements that make survival possible on what we so appropriately know as the “blue planet”.
Statement courtesy of Soledad Salamé
Consejo Nacional de la Cultura, Caracas, Venezuela (1977-1979)
Centro de Enseñanza Gráfica, Caracas, Venezuela (1978)
Design Institute, Neuman Foundation, Caracas, Venezuela (1975-1976)
Technologio Sucre, Caracas, Venezuela (1973)
Santiago College, Santiago, Chile (1972)
Grant, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc., New York, NY, USA (1996)
Latina Excellence Award, Hispanic Magazine, Miami, FL, USA (1994)
Special Recognition, International Biennial of Graphics, Maracaïbo, Venezuela (1982)