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Michael Salerno

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Recent art history has so emphasized the role of gesture in art, that gesture has become ridiculous. The work emphasizes the scribble as an ironic commentary on gesture. Whether the symbolic claim of transcendent meaning or the overt statement of the artist's singular presence vis-a-vis the hand, the drama of gesture in the historical narrative has overwhelmed sensible commentary on art. Salerno examines the relationship of the artistís non-heroic, purposefully unskilled scribbles to other less flamboyant art styles, notably color field and other reductive approaches to abstract painting. A variety of art styles investigating irony and questioning the nature of individual efforts helped define the 1990s. It is enigmatic that this work easily illustrates the arguments of these heavyweight schools of thought as much as it stands as a testament against them.
--Mat Gleason


If you look at the ceiling of some prehistoric caves, you will see a tangle of lines made by ancient artists, with their fingers in wet clay. We sense this is sacred and ritualistic ground, and feel a profound moment of identification between our forbears and our own humanness. Michael Salerno's work stands in a direct line from that time to the present.

Leonardo DaVinci recommended weaving a tangle of lines, and the study of it, in which you would see armies, cities, mountains and waters. Of course, beyond free association, in Michael Salerno's work you will experience much more. From Tabla Rasa to what becomes a dense multi layered field of woven line - like an active, tremulous energy field, spread before your eyes - buzzing - humming - vibrating - shimmering, you see it, you feel it... a palpable expressive surface resulting from the insistence of a continuous line, accumulating, aggregating - a deep and powerful sense of human existence.

Michael Salerno's painting is like no other painting I know. It comes about differently. Once you find your way into it, you will be blown away. He is unique, and one of the most original painters I know.
--Roland Reiss


White Light, White Noise
All objects are observable to the extent that they reflect light into the eye of the observer. But when that object changes with every subtle shift in lighting, what exactly is it that we are perceiving? Michael Salerno won't tell you the answers; you have to decide for yourself. His highly detailed works, built up on the surface of wood almost architecturally, with layers upon layers of oil, appear at first glance to be simple fields of color - until closer observation reveals an almost limitless depth and range. Working intuitively, Salerno's congealed composites of line and paint catch the light at various angles, changing with each small shift, causing his paintings to be "probably 90 percent light," and infinitely mutable.

What do they depict? Nothing, and everything. "You could say they're fractals, but with non-repetitive patterns," he explains. It's easy to lose oneself in the tangle of lines that, from a short distance, melt into an absorbing field of changing forms. "People like to find things in them," he comments as he works on a new piece in silver. But it's clear from watching him work that these paintings are a transmission from a consciousness that is non-objective, that is purely about movement and creation. Salerno's works are a Geiger counter for the white noise of the human soul.
--Lucinda Michele Knapp

Michael Salerno
Los Angeles, CA
North America

T: 1 3232236089

Web Links
In Studio - 6 Minute Video
ArtScene Cover Story
Drawings 1991-1994
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