Monday, January 5, 2015

Saira McLaren

 I was glad to be able to sneak in an evening visit with Saira McLaren just before settling into all the holiday hullabaloo a few weeks ago. We met at Graham and Meeker to walk the last few blocks to her new studio space while dodging the cold rain that slowly began to fade in our favor. Housed in a building whose second floor was recently built out for studios, fortuitously by artists, McLaren and her Husband Mike Hein have spaces side by side. Saira, knee deep in preparation for her solo show at Sargent's Daughters opening January 8th, set me up with a cozy seat and quickly got to work. We commented on the dry cleaner's radio station choices that we could hear through the walls as we settled in for the night. Decidedly, we liked it when they landed on the soft rock.

Like much good painting, McLaren's deceptively effortless process convinces the viewer that the cool and composed serenity of the canvas comes from no more then a few moments of deliberation. In actuality it is a collaboration of many thoughtful moments, pure pigment stains and perfectly timed drying sessions that eventually lead to her paintings' satisfying end results. This is where spending an evening drawing (and watching out of the corner of my eye) allows me the added benefit of changing my perception of how things are made. The saturated layers of color seem to dance on the surface while they are simultaneously being sucked deep into the canvases' textures. Pushing and pulling any sense of perspective into an endlessly hypnotizing cycle. McLaren's contemporary take on post-impressionism, as she breaks down objects to their basic shapes while heightening their colors, gives flora and fauna their deserved dues. A bush or a tree, as McLaren explained, are some of her inspirations. Much like those of my favorite century old french predecessors.
We broke halfway through our session for dinner at the noodle shop that is hidden half way up an industrial street near by the studio. I couldn't belief how satisfying a bowl of hand pulled noodles and stewed pork could be as it disintegrated in my mouth. While we ate we chatted on the ins and outs of the art world. McLaren's show, just weeks away, didn't seem to disrupt her calm disposition a bit as we sipped our tea and finished up our studio visit a few hours later. I look forward to revisiting these paintings (and the ceramics that will be joining them) at the end of the week. To see more of McLaren's work go here

No comments:

Post a Comment