The work is driven by my dialogues with sensual presence and historical consciousness. I explore bodily presence as immediate and participatory. I want to give the body over to space, to have what we think of as exterior forces inhere in bodily presence. The fragmented forms in my work remain weighty and tactile. Clustered, ad hoc structures, often set in fluid broken light, and watery environs comprise recent images. These temporarily aligned improvisations exist in turn within spaces where encompassing forces rule. These are painterly spaces where optical and tactile perceptions enact a precarious habitation.
Overlapping this sensual insistence on presence, a further horizon asserts itself through the historical self -consciousness within these images. These forms, rhythms, and movements, these colors and atmospheres remain familiar to us as modes of western painting. Make no mistake I have a deep connection to such painting. I conceive that love as a connection where I find an energy and pulse of time lived. Yet, what I take up in my work exceeds my admiration for such painting. I think my connection with historical modes of painting allows me to suggest thinking and sensing where we might re-negotiate our relational being within history. I am trying to paint both our distance and our immersion; recognizing rituals of need across historical epochs. I want to question our perspectival being temporary with a deeper, participatory understanding of the repeating rhythms of being within a plenitude of time. These images are compellingly strange and idiosyncratic while still encountering our somehow nullified relationships to the subject of the figure in landscape, a subject whose dynamic poles encompass lived space and now lost relationships to spiritual traditions. It is my hope that my project, making history painting‚ in this era, de-stabilizes both teleological projection and utopian dreams that I think displace our responsibility to forge a deep connection to our presence, to our specific time as bodies and minds flowing into life. I hope what I make as a contemporary history painter‚ is an insistence on being present.
Gallery affiliation: First Street Gallery, 526 West 26th Street, Suite 915, New York, NY, 10001, www.firststreetgallery.net/
born: 1958, United States
Cornell University, MFA, 1991
University of Cincinnati, BFA, 1988
Finalist for Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Graduate Instruction and Mentoring, Miami University, 2007
Individual Artist Award, Summerfair of Cincinnati, 2006
Bendik, Joe, "Making Tragic Paintings: Dana Saulnier continues to reach into abstraction for something deeper," Chelsea Clinton News, New York, NY, 21 May 2009.
Durell, Jane, "Dana Saulnier, Nancy Fletcher Cassell, and Andrew Longhane at Weston Art Gallery," Art Papers Magazine, Atlanta, GA, November 2004.
Fryer- Kohles, Jeanne, "History Inspires Master of the Brushstroke," The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, OH, August 2002.
solo or two-person exhibits
"Night Series; Paintings by Dana Saulnier," First Street Gallery, New York, NY, scheduled October 4-29, 2011.
"Works by Dana Saulnier and John Benvenuto," Olin Gallery, Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA, February 5-21, 2010.
"Sense, Presence, Absence: Paintings of Dana Saulnier," College of the Sequoias Art Gallery, College of the Sequoias, Visalia, CA, November 3-December 3, 2009.
"Dana Saulnier: Sense and Absence," First Street Gallery, New York, NY, April 28-May 23, 2009.
"Dana Saulnier, Carolyn Coalson, and Thomas Holder," Sam Hill Warehouse Gallery, Prescott College, Prescott, AZ, November 6-December 2, 2009.
"Figurama 2009 Drawing Project," Old Town Hall, Prague, Feb. 2009, European Commission House Brussels, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, throughout 2009.
"In the Beginning; The Creative Process Revealed," The Grace Albrecht Gallery, Bluffton University, Bluffton, OH, November 9-December 18 2009.