If you enjoy the prospect of revisiting your childhood sense of wonder while picking your way through the vibrant, unadulterated dreamscape of an artist’s imagination, visit Souther Salazar’s Attic Transmissions at Narwhal.
While living in Scrapper’s Attic, Salazar developed a method of piecing together his fragmented doodles to form larger systems by tuning in to his own frequencies of intuitive, creative inspiration. Thus, we have Attic Transmissions. Each system of overlapping narratives has been contextualised and splashed enthusiastically onto single surfaces, illustrating spur-of-the-moment adventures. Salazar layers mixed media and found objects in his energetic collages and paintings.
His work is full of wildly playful doodles and sketches, similar to what you might have expected to find in your own high school notebooks from math class. But the way that the wild and varied images are brought together, maintaining a visual balance and context while continuing to appear spontaneous, is masterful and unique. Everything is harmonious. As reflected in his artworks, Salazar has managed to navigate the landscapes of his imagination and memory with ease, archiving dreams, impulses, experiences and fragments of thought into cohesive systems.
I find Salazar’s work to be nostalgic of the illustrations in picture books I used to read as a child. Like Salazar’s artwork, images were meant to spark the imagination and transport viewers to a land of escapism. The narratives of his work are anything but nailed down. When I see “Some Forgotten Corner of the Universe”, I don’t know if I am viewing a giant galactic space turtle or an exploratory underwater mission. And that is the beauty of it. When exploring an image with a childlike sensibility, things don’t need to make sense in one solitary way and there are no boundaries. Multiple narratives can unfold simultaneously in a piece, somehow still appearing connected to one another. In Salazar’s artwork, I enjoy stories that unfurl all over and all at once. His goal of getting me back in touch with my ability to access childlike curiosity and wonder was definitely realised.
This is art that is not afraid to be fun, and I love that.
Text and photo: Emily Kovacs
*Exhibition information: March 28 – April 25, 2015, Narwhal, 2104 Dundas Street West, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat, 12 – 6 p.m.