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What is autonomy? Sailing/failing, facilitating accidental encounters with matter, organizing chaos to speak of an underlying design? Using the process of ‘transfer’ that Shirley Wiitasalo has developed over the years she explores the variability and nuance of texture in her new series of paintings. This body of works reflects on individual monochromatic compositions that when viewed together are balanced in terms of colour and form. The white ground in Wiitasalo’s new paintings is a surface that is at once both present and absent, and is muted by a delicate transferred layer that sits on top. The subject matter hints towards an experience of ruffled linens, crinkled plastic, or creases of skin. Perhaps this simultaneity of folds is at once both visceral and theoretical; evoking a multiplicity of associations. The painting process and any “subject” come together at once emerging as an affect that eludes description. These paintings don’t translate through language but through body; a familiarity, a prehension, that evades the tangible.

Paint is a radically passive communicator that Wiitasalo employs for its formal ingenuity. Materiality points magically in the direction of interiority, calling for a recalling of surfaces once seen, tasted, and touched. The contingency of transferring materials results as the possibility of multiple variables. Activating the process of movement between one surface/subject to another, this exchange imprints itself on the other, never conforming to an exact system but rather registers the incertitude of becoming, an effervescent process in motion.

When does silence become more meaningful than words? Through quiet looking we are re-orientated toward our embodied sense. Timothy Morton contends that, “The aesthetic dimension is the causal dimension…” Material attunement awakens present tense attention. Consciousness is the consideration of details in their contexts. Beyond, and within these folds of order is the whirling potentiality of chaos and Wiitasalo’s paintings seem to be the material investigation of these theoretical spaces.

 

 

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