Dana Saulnier – Statement

In these works, embodied forms grow and decay; the forms are tentative and are often undone. The nominal subject is ‘the figure in landscape’, but these figured and disfigured forms are more haptic events. Boundaries between figure and ground are open and permeable evoking transience and uncertainty. These ‘bodies’ are under pressure, they dwell within forces that exceed any temporary integrity they possess. Still, these fleeting beings achieve a circumspect vitality — a place cycling condition and contingency.

Themes of tragedy and comedy are repeating historical projects. I find the subject of the figure in landscape fertile ground for realizing such themes. My dialogue with painting locates both my connection to the past and my distance from the past. The distance is crucial to my work.

My paintings evolve from sets of drawings and studies in oil or collage. I often have some subtle intuition while working. I sense multiple potentials in some configuration of form and space. I experience a lot of ‘not seeing’ as I work out my seeing. This tension gets built into the work and structures how the viewer receives the image. I work to ‘speak’ to the viewer’s body before sets of categories that name what is being seen constrain the viewer’s experience. I seek images where active perception and category are in tension. I want both modes of reception to be ‘fragile.’

Painting lives best when it devours our attempts to theorize. I seek to make works that are absolutely specific while being productively resistant to analysis.