Using the earthwork artists of the 1970s and 1980s–Heizer, Smithson, Long, Maisel, and Matta-Clark–as a jumping-off point, Gerald Saladyga exhibition explores landscape in drawings, photographs, “over-painted” illustrations, and small installations. His landscapes are not romantic representations of the past, but visions of an ever-changing environment challenged by urban sprawl, pollution, industrialization, victimization and conflict.
What separates Saladyga from these other artists is his approach. “I prefer a fantasy that lets the viewer go with a sense of unease that there is something wrong and it is just below the surface.” For Saladyga, land, landscape,and earth are impermanent. “A river runs wild then ends in pollution. A city is built and then is abandoned (Detroit). The natural landscape is bull-dozed, dynamited, clear-cut, war-ravaged, tunneled. What remains gives the artist visual information that is truthful and powerful.
What Saladyga tries to reveal through his work is nothing short of the vision he saw when he visited the site of the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw: “Where there were forests, there were massacres and where there were fields covered with wild flowers, there are not-so-silent graves. In Saladyga’s words, “Every country and every people have a story to tell and every piece of real estate has a secret.’