Tina Salvesen’s work initially exhibits scrumptiously flowing hues; her sense of color is sublimely honed. On closer inspection, detail reins in preliminary exuberance taking on a meticulous botanical quality. “My work is about mutations” Salvesen explains. “These forms don’t exist but are familiar to us.” Many titles reflect “creative forms of Latin flower names”; like Sirian Gloriosa, taken from the mystical star Sirian and the Latin name for a deciduous climbing vine, Gloriosa. Tina gets inspiration from nature and the body. As I sat in her pleasing studio in the iconic Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, my eye gradually focused to absorb all the layered subtlety of the components in each piece before me.
Thin acrylic paint and silk dyes form a color wash; black ink is then applied to swathes of structure hinted in these base applications. The long process of drawing with ink, often using a stippling effect to achieve shadowing, begins to extract distinct contours of floral matter, underwater creatures or even inner workings of the body, a sharp interest for the artist. Salvesen has long practiced the art of meditation, which is intimated in her initial approach. “I start with a suggestion of color and shape.” Her first application of a paint wash is done without pre-planning .....to “see where it leads”. Not content to work on the traditional easel, Tina tosses large pieces of watercolor paper on the floor to proceed with her work.
With a teensy bit of prodding, the artist showed me some of her earliest work on rough hewn hand-made paper. It was unrestrained color and mixed media with distinct references to planets, nature, maps of other worlds; always “with an interest to our evolution....all evolution”, Salvesen clarifies. “I invented my own language”, exemplified in one of the early pieces. I could clearly see how she got from there to what I saw before me.
Between the two color periods, this artist had a very successful transition into black and white with arresting and tightly drawn graphite renderings called “Knots, Ropes and DNA”. The woman clearly has a handle on shape and form, her mind delving inward to draw on a myriad knowledge of nature on a complex level.
Salvesen’s most recent work is steeped in generous, but not simplistic color combinations; the yellows she coaxes out of the paint box are delicious and finely toned, flowing smoothly into neighboring tint. Her ink drawings are at once botanic with a tiny smidgeon of whimsy. I wanted to run around matching up her beautiful hand-made paper work of previous decades with the more modern output....there was a stamp of the personality returning in a most interesting visual essay.
Tina Salvesen is a native of South Florida. Having returned from the Northeast only 3 years ago, Tina encountered a very different Miami than the tiny burg she left for the world outside of this previously insular environment. I asked what has changed in her approach to the art since Miami: “The color usage is different here”. Ah. The Miami light soaks into us all.
Salvesen shows at the Helene La Marque Gallery in Wynwood, Paris and Shanghai as well as the West 2 Gallery in London where Tina will soon participate in “Works on Paper” with a series of charcoal seed drawings.
Visit the artist at work in the Bakehouse Art Complex, studio #47
561 NW 32nd St
M-F 9am-5pm or second Saturday 7-11pm