Sargent’s Daughters is pleased to present a day and the night, a solo exhibition of new paintings and ceramics by New York artist Saira McLaren. The exhibition will open on Thursday, January 8th 2015 and will be on view until Sunday, February 8th, 2015.
In her new body of work, McLaren references opposition and nature; the world around us and an internal realm. The title, a day and the night, is both specific and vague, alluding to contrasting ideas that exist simultaneously. While McLaren’s paintings suggest the natural world with reflective surfaces, solar discs and arboreal shapes, we are never entirely sure of our place in this ever-changing surface.
McLaren’s paintings are a multi layering process, usually involving 10-30 layers. Beginning with thin layers of acrylic dye on raw canvas, she works her way to thicker applications. Raw pigment with acrylic binders are introduced in the final stages, applied with a heavier hand to create more depth and surface. The use of resist methods in the middle layers creates a 'ghosting' effect, or bleached appearance, though she does not use bleach. Though the painting is made in a long process, the paint is applied very quickly and each time she add to the work there can be no hesitation. The effect these layers produce is to envelop as well as separate us-- we are in the woods and viewing them from afar. The dye is at once very clear and smudged, allowing our eyes to focus or blur as we move through the work.
The imperfect is also of importance to McLaren, whose intimate ceramics reference Kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken ceramics with gold. McLaren’s ceramics are purposefully cracked and stressed in production, the breakage and gold veins become decorative and structural elements, embracing the “faults” as part of the history of the work and enhancing its life rather than ending it. The sculptures are made to look like found natural objects--smooth and rough, cracked from pressure and time with glimmers of precious metals hinting at other lives.
McLaren’s interest is in the journey and shifting visual hierarchies that surround us as we travel through the world. McLaren describes her capturing of this experience, “The landscape is always deceiving and your experiences are constant discoveries. From the distant you see a deer and then as you get closer to it, you see it is half a fallen tree. This deception is both the magical and terrifying quality of being alone in nature. You never know what is ahead of you or who is behind you.”
Saira McLaren (b. 1976 Toronto, Canada) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She has recently exhibited at Sargent's Daughters, New York, NY, Essex Flowers, New York, NY and NADA New York 2014. Her work was selected for inclusion in New American Paintings Northeast Issue #116 - 2015. McLaren has has been featured in publications such as ARTFORUM, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Art Observed and ArtSlant. This is her first solo exhibition with Sargent's Daughters.