“Every moment in life is an improvisation.”
This was one of the key ideas for artist Samantha Parker Salazar’s “Conjure,” a single-object exhibition held at The Elsie B. Rosefsky Memorial Art Gallery in the Fine Arts Building.
The department of art and design hosted a closing reception and artist’s talk on Feb. 22 to highlight the installation by Salazar. The exhibition was on view from Jan. 25 to Feb. 23.
“Conjure” is an abstract piece composed of elements including paper, hex pipes and paint. It consisted of a centerpiece in the middle with smaller pieces hung on the wall surrounding it. Salazar said she envisioned a togetherness in the piece inspired by movement. The program for the exhibition said the work “moves back and forth between beautiful and hideous, birthing an object that has the presence of having been conjured spontaneously as if from nothing.”
Chukwudi Kanu, a senior majoring in systems science and industrial engineering, said he appreciated the scale of the installation.
“When I saw how everything was, and how she transformed spaces, she created an atmosphere for me,” Kanu said.
Hans Gindlesberger, assistant professor in the art and design department, helped curate the exhibition. He said this show provided Binghamton University students with unique access to the artist.
“It was an opportunity to start the semester doing something large-scale and ambitious,” Gindlesberger said. “It had an element of interaction between the artist and the students.”
The artist’s talk was a chance for students to have a conversation with the artist, and it highlighted Salazar’s journey as an artist. She received her bachelor’s in fine arts from Bradley University, where she was trained in metal engraving, then went on to complete her master’s in fine arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Salazar said that it was during graduate school that she began experimenting with turning her two-dimensional engravings into larger 3-D installations.
Gindlesberger said Salazar’s educational experience could provide guidance for BU students.
“We don’t have any dedicated classes in media or installation or participatory classes,” said Gindlesberger. “To see someone, through her own agenda, move her work from printmaking to a practice she’s designed herself is a good model for our students to have.”
Salazar also discussed failures she has experienced and mistakes she has made in her career. She spoke about the difficulties of being a graduate student and the role of trial and error in figuring out how to transition from printmaking. Although she mainly works as an abstract artist, Salazar said she finds inspiration in all sorts of artwork, including that of artists like Francis Bacon and Caravaggio.
Salazar, who is now based in Columbus, Ohio, said she started with a picture of the gallery and used specific architectural elements to inspire “Conjure.”
“I’m not going to lie, this was probably the scariest piece I’ve ever done,” Salazar said. “This was probably the most improvisation I’ve ever done. But because of the improvisation and because of the need to overcome fear, it caused me to let go of all my preconceived notion of what it is. But I think sometimes that creates the best results.”