Over the years, at various fairs, Pentimenti Gallery (Philadelphia) has consistently stood out. This year, at Untitled Art Miami Beach (November 29 to December 4, 2021) the gallery will show work by Anne Buckwalter, Brandon J. Donahue and Raymond Saá.
Saá graciously took time to talk about his work.
The artist creates abstract collage paintings and drawings referencing both his Florida upbringing and his Cuban roots. He employs a unique layering process that leaps out at the viewer.
"I refer to them as a stacked composition, because that’s the process of making. Starting with the bottom of the artwork, and then literally stacking ‘postcards’ on top of one another, building the composition from the bottom up," says Saá. "Each row of ‘postcards’ is dictated by the previous row, I’m not creating a composition, but rather building one."
Building seems an apropos term because while there are natural, almost botanic aspects to these pieces there is also a strong architectural element in the work.
"That’s really what I love most about collage, is there is no set composition, it’s constantly changing or in flux," says Saá. "The ability to completely change the composition, with a new addition at any point in the process, is a big part of the process.
The artist says that when and why he gravitated to collage is a tough question to answer.
"I’m not sure I have a specific answer to when I started using collage but I think it’s always been a part of the work since college. I was a painting major at Maryland art institute and in grad school at Parsons, I was a sculpture major. Probably my work has always been somewhere in the middle," he says. "I’ve always had an affinity for materials, and the way things are assembled and made. Growing up, my mother always had a sewing machine sitting on the dining room table, and it was a part of the culture in my house, so it makes sense to me that this has infiltrated my work now."
You can simply look at these pieces and enjoy them in an aesthetic sense but you can also dig deeper.
"I think that there are two different processes in viewing and understanding the work, first is the initial comprehension of the work in regards to composition color balance," says Saá. "The second process comes as the viewer engages deeper into the work and discovers the craft component, both in the works on paper and collage canvas works; part of the fabrication that relies on sewing for its assemblage."
"I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to exhibit in Miami a couple of times, but Untitled Art Fair is a first. I have visited Art Basel Miami often and Untitled Art Fair has always stood out. Each booth is more exciting than the next, with masses of innovative and important artwork." says Saá.
Pentimenti will be in Booth B45 at Untitled.