June 5-July 4, 2021
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 5, 12-6pm
At the onset of COVID I started acid-dyeing wool on my kitchen stove. In addition to never leaving my home, there was no heat in my studio barn, so I moved my work into my kitchen. I needed a way to make the domestic space work for me, so I turned to pigments and dyes on the stovetop. I have always used various dyeing methods in my work, but I had previously applied dye by pouring and staining, requiring me to make a giant mess of color on the floor. These new pieces needed to adapt to new circumstances. After dyeing wool batting on the stove, I use the laundry dryer to apply heat and felt the fabric. I then apply the dyed roving (unspun wool fibers) in a painterly manner to the surface of a wool substrate.
The process feels bodily: washing, brushing, dyeing, and touching real hair, sometimes feeling almost human. The imagery comes from places, real and imaginary: dreams of somewhere outside of my house, the five miles I walk everyday, and the grocery store. In this work I have flattened the landscape, extracting individual elements and rearranging them as parts of the composition. Nothing is predetermined. Following my intuition, the forms and colors develop their own trajectories. The objects in the work sit on the surface as if they have been blanketed on the hill, the river, or a field.
Saira McLaren is a Canadian artist living and working in the Western Catskills. Her work is rooted in landscape, both the external and internal world we move through. Perceptions of reality, repressions, and illusions are explored in the intersection of representation and abstraction. McLaren has mounted solo exhibitions at Sargent's Daughters in New York and has been included group exhibitions in Toronto, Los Angeles and Dusseldorf. Her work has been reviewed in Artforum, New York Magazine, and TimeOut.