Following a recent survey exhibition at the Gallery at the Canada Embassy in Trafalgar Square embassy in London, and a series of sell-out shows internationally, London-based Canadian artist Andrew Salgado and Beers London gallery announce a huge solo show in Croatia; A Room With a View of The Ocean as much a bold leap into conceptual art as it is a firm reminder of the prowess and skill that has confirmed him as one of the world’s leading young figurative painters.
Following his November solo exhibition The Snake, which allowed Salgado to shed his artistic skin and reputation for creating thematically-heavy art, A Room With a View of the Ocean has enabled the artist to undertake a more crude and abstract approach to his art-making. Capitalising on Lauba Art House’s considerable 13,000 sq ft space, the narrative includes 75 individual artworks created over the course of seven months, including a variety of site-specific installations designed by the artist himself. The installation unfolds as a journey through four distinctive chambers, painted in bold colours and extending beyond a 360-degree set. The resulting environment is created as a vaguely hallucinogenic, immersive multimedia landscape — complete with furniture, video projection, and ethereal soundscapes.
Andrew Salgado’s sprawling spatial statements engulf the viewer. The mode is participatory and of course included are the artist’s instantly recognisable bold portrait paintings; which see the artist wholly and intuitively embracing textile-art to include hand-dyed and hand-stitched canvas as a structural and formative technique. As our desire for provenance and knowledge of how something is created or grown increases, immersion becomes a physical and virtual connection between two worlds. The large-scale paintings in the first chapter feature canvases lovingly and laboriously hand-stitched by the artist. Salgado also hand-dyes his own materials, and created his own chaise lounge which he wants viewers to perch on — as well as pushing the paintings that swing from the rafters, or peeking through their many ‘see-through’ parts.
The viewer will then move through to the second and third phases, through both a lemon-yellow and ‘midnight-blue’ room, where Salgado will present his first-ever works on paper as well as sculpture and the aforementioned furniture; which manifests as a ‘lemon-yellow patchwork sofa’. In the penultimate room, the Canadian has painted 24 individual copies of Albert Camus’s seminal novel The Outsider, a book which itself has two titles and lends itself to conflicting political transatlantic interpretations. Perhaps most interesting is the artists recreation of ‘an ocean’ at the climax of the exhibition, complete with artificial beach and sun-loungers, as well as an eight metre projection of the ocean created off the Western Cape of South Africa.
A Room with a View of the Ocean sees the artist eager to challenge both our expectations of figurative art and also what we come to expect from a single body of work by a solo artist. But the title refers to a sense of peace — aspiring towards calm — both personal and professional. As the words ‘immersive’ and ‘creative’ begin to lose their meanings through overuse, Salgado summarises what he wants the beholder to experience: “It’s simple really,” he says in a one sentence explanation. “I want them to feel like they’re inside the work.”
Andrew Salgado’s A Room With A View Of The Ocean is showing now until 25 August at Lauba Art House, Zagreb.