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DEBORAH SALT

Chronology

1969-1972 While working at a fledgling Village Voice in it's infamous Sheridan Square building in Greenwich Village, I entered the School of Visual Arts, NYC. Studied with the most innovative artists of that time; Brice Marden, Chuck Close, Jonathan Borofsky, Mel Bochner, minimalist composer Steve Reich and Marsha Tucker, who became my mentor, and later started The New Museum in Soho, NYC.
Chuck Close's "mark making" and transferring an image via the grid was invaluable to my later painting of large scale murals. Jonathan Borofsky introduced the possibility of being completely free and out of the box. And it wasn't until much later on in my life that I was able to utilize what I saw and absorbed from a quiet unassuming Brice Marden.

1972 Marsha Tucker opened the New Museum and continued her interest in my work, encouraging me and my work as I entered the world and streets of NY as a young artist.

1973-1977 Loft on 28th street and Broadway. It was in these years that my realism leaned toward the surreal. I was doing graphite drawings of faces, everyday objects and plants, picking up much of it with an eraser or scotch tape. Making things seem to disappear, white washing, painting so faintly you could barely see the image. I see only now how my present interest in the ephemeral, the fading away of borders, the dissolving of the object, springs from this same impulse.

At this time I was enmeshed in the blooming art and photography world of Soho. My boyfriend, photographer Michael Martone, and I were friends with many of the rising photographers of the time-Ralph Gibson, Mary Ellen Mark, filmmaker Larry Clark of "Tulsa" fame, critic A.D. Coleman. We shared and traded our work. I learned then about the refinement and elegance of art making while committing to honesty in our work and being good at what we did. And the fragile hold we sometimes had on maintaining our sanity.

1973 Exhibit Brooklyn Museum, "Women in the Arts", Brooklyn, NY.
1974 Exhibit Women in the Arts Gallery, Broome St, NYC.
1975 Exhibit Huntington Hartford Museum of Art, "Women in the Arts", NYC.

1977 Exhibit Mamaroneck Artist Guild, curated in affiliation with Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.
1977 Exhibit Nobe Gallery, NYC, "The Seventies", curated by David Boyce (Holly Solomon Gallery)
1977 Exhibit Las Vegas Art Museum, "Works on Paper", curated by Marsha Tucker (The New Museum), honorable mention.

1978 Met Tibetan teacher in New York and began my life long study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism.

1978 Moved to Venice, California and got involved in the Los Angeles mural movement, utilizing the grid "mark-making" process I learned from Chuck Close.

1980-1991 Lived in Woodstock, NY. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity in these years to train, study, and practice with great Tibetan lamas, many of whom arrived in the West for the first time. On my mountain was the North American seat of HH the sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa, (spiritual head of the Kagyupa lineage) which steadily grew into an authentic Tibetan monastery.

During this time, I continued with realism, applying what I learned from Close, focusing on portraits- graphite, large scale oil and acrylic canvases and extreme gestural charcoals.

1982 Solo Columbia Green College, NY.
1987 Solo The Night Gallery, Woodstock, NY.
1988 Solo The Night Gallery, Woodstock, NY.

1991- 1993 Travelled throughout the southwest ending up in Cerrillos, New Mexico, a one street town just north of Santa Fe.

1994-1999 My life turned on a dime in 1994. I was in a serious car accident that spared me but took the life of my partner of 6 years, my dog, and my cat. It took me a year to walk again and use my right hand. The trauma from that experience catapulted me into a new territory on every level. My buddhist practice and art making were the two things that enabled me to remain steady in mind and spirit. I drew, painted endlessly the inner visions that appeared to me as a symbolic language. Working with tuning forks and spontaneous songs each painting appeared as a glyph of an emotion that I would attempt to heal as I painted. The series was called "Emotional Wisdom" and "The Intelligence of Matter". This process lasted five years. It was the start of seeing the painting itself as holding a resonance that goes beyond representation or illustration.

1997 Moved to Ojai, CA.

1998 Exhibit Art Expo, International Print Show, Bombay, India.
1999 Solo Prints at The Jesi Shah Gallery, Hydrabath and Bombay India.
2000 Exhibit Payerbach Museum, "100 Sacred Visions", Payerbach, Austria.

2001 From a three inch single diamond in the middle of my last 72x72 foot painting of that period, a charcoal drawing, "The Descent of Light", was the end of symbolism for me and seeded my future interest in tilted squares, diagonals and pure abstraction.
I did studies of a single diamond in a field of graphite, or diagonal grid patterns.

2002 Solo exhibition at Zanders Gallery, Ventura, CA.
2002 Exhibits at Studio 620, "Minimal States", Santa Barbara, CA.

2003 Moved to Los Angeles, California.

My first job was restoring murals. Murals on the freeway, and historical Mexican murals. I worked with the renowned Nathan Zakheim, the main conservator in this field, working out of the Howard Hughes Airport hangar in Playa Del Rey.

I also worked as an assistant to the painter Mary Corse. We have remained good friends, sharing many of the same ideas and approaches to life and art, which we see as inseparable. She has helped to instill in me, and forever remind me, of the tenacity it takes to maintain consistency in order to be a good painter and sustain over the years.

Thus began the trajectory of art making that would continue to inform my work to this day. Due here to the difficulty of putting years of study and application of Tibetan Buddhism into a nutshell, suffice it to say that these began to take root in my work. It was a natural outcome of plumbing an inner landscape and reflecting on basic principals of reality.

I pared down the painting surface to a white diamond sitting on the bottom center of the canvas in a field of red or black matte paint. The only distinguishing feature of the painting was the size of the canvas and proportion of the white diamond to the rest of the field. Anything unnecessary to this end was relinquished. It was the next major turning point for me- finding a way of saying as little as possible to convey subtle nuances of seeing and experiencing art, while remaining dynamic and impactful. Cultivating what I came to call "abstract mind", I found great satisfaction in laying down paint with less thought, not unlike Sumei painting, doing the same thing over and over, only with varying contextual, proportional conditions.

2005 Solo exhibition and talk at T House Gallery, "Abstract Mind", Santa Barbara, California.
2006 Exhibition at Gallery C, "L.A. Minimalism Today", Hermosa Beach, CA.

2008 After about five years (2008) I began to question the need to depict these relationships on the canvas;
I started using the canvas to tell a story about something other than itself.

I painted a 9x8 foot canvas with a white rectangle (instead of a diamond) on a black field jutting up from the bottom center at a forty-five degree angle. This was the first time I had not used a diamond. I loved the painting but questioned continuing to paint these relationships. It felt redundant.
I decided to have the canvas itself be the rectangle on the wall, to sit on the floor, jutting up the wall at a forty-five degree angle. Now the wall was the field.

I painted the front of the canvas white (as was the diamond or rectangle before) and surrounded the painting on the sides with several layers of matte black paint at first, enveloping the white rectangular canvas in black. My interest was now the proportion of the canvas to the wall, the space around it.

As I moved around the painting the black side would become less and less visible, disappearing as I stood in the front and slowly reappearing as I moved along to the other side. This created a perception of an outline around the white canvas. Almost as if the shape was drawn on the wall. In front the canvas seemed to disappear into the wall, no longer having a line, a boundary. They ranged from 120x40 inches to 72x60 inches, matte white on the front, with a few layers of monochromatic matte color (black, red or blue) on the sides.

2008 Solo exhibition Juliet McIver Fine Arts, "New Paintings", Los Angeles, CA.
2010 Solo Juliet McIver Fine Arts, Bergamot Station, Los Angeles, CA.

2011 Moved into a studio with large windows of light. I noticed the color on the sides of the paintings glowed on the wall. This compelled me to incorporate other colors to the palette. They appeared as columns of colored light, the air infused with hues, now pushing the direction of the work further to include the walls and the surrounding space they were "standing" in.

2013 Two-person exhibit at Nye + Brown Gallery, "Voluminosity", Los Angeles, CA.

2015 Paintings became as narrow as I could conceive them:
6 inches wide and as high as 10 feet tall. Still sitting on the floor tilting to the right, I began to experiment with hanging the paintings close together to mix the colors on the wall between them and each other's sides.
Now the paintings are in a more intimate conversation.

2016 Featured as a "Future Great" in ArtReview magazine, nominated/written by artist Mary Corse, Los Angeles, CA.

2016-17 Solo Ace Gallery, "Vertical", Los Angeles, CA

2016 Reviewed in Blouin ArtInfo, November 8, by Isabella Mason, solo exhibition "Vertical", Ace Gallery,

2017 Awarded the Lillian Orlofsky William Freed Foundation Grant, Provincetown, Mass.

2017 Two-person exhibit with Brian Wills, Porch Gallery, "Front and Side".

2018 Exhibition, Grant recipients, Provincetown Museum of Art, Cape Cod, Mass.

Copyright ©2020 Deborah Salt. All rights reserved.
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