Edges of a Sea Change
July 8 - August 1
Gaa Gallery Provincetown
Edges of a Sea Change, on view at Gaa Gallery, marks New York-based artist Sarah Trigg’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition will open with a reception from 6 - 8 pm on Friday, July 8 and will feature recent paintings and sculptures that explore the artist’s philosophical, geological, and spiritual leanings through materiality.
Matter makes up everything seen and experienced in the known universe. From supernovas to the material making up a computer screen, matter is all around us, re-forming, circling, cycling. Matter cannot be created or destroyed but can change form. Through physical and chemical changes matter is conserved. The same amount of matter existing before and after. Nothing is created or destroyed. We are made of the atoms shared by stars, dinosaurs, rocks, plants, and everything that has come before us and everything that will be here when we are not.
Viewing the work of Sarah Trigg through this lens, we encounter a body of work that evokes the forces of the body, earth, and internal landscapes. Influenced by archeology, anthropology, and astrophysics Sarah Trigg transforms materials—rare and common. Discarded cans of house paint are sources of material. Earth pigments, pumice, and minerals suggest the strata of lived and natural processes.
Unearthing and exposing that which is buried, Trigg’s work materializes the metaphysical and asks whether consciousness—both personal and collective—can be thought of as a physical substance capable of bodily and geological transformation. Made tangible, the matter of consciousness is fluid, connective, and of sedimentary layers. It is a consciousness that does not forget but instead binds, fuses, and bears witness. As much as time and experience can muddle and make murky, matter absorbs, presses, calcifies, accumulates, shifts, and changes shape. In Edges of a Sea Change Trigg, a sculptor and painter whose practice has also included photography and writing, generously shares these meditations through three interconnected bodies of work—The Cast Paint Series, Smolders Not Done, and recent paintings, including the exhibition’s namesake, Edges of a Sea Change.
Beginning in 2016, the Cast Paint Series is an ongoing body of work that utilizes leftover gallon-sized house paint that is carefully dried, slumped, and arranged into vibrant monolithic, free-standing sculptures. Over the course of months, sometimes years, Trigg monitors the drying of the discarded paint. Once malleable and stabilized, a liquid turned solid form, is removed from the original vessel. The extracted masses are stacked and arranged to create column-like structures exposing a core-like sample of earth, of and post-human.
Smolders Not Done is a series for work Trigg began in 2017 at the start of the #MeToo movement and has revisited periodically over the past five years. With edges exceeding the linear confines of the painting’s border, black, almost obsidian-like paint is thickly applied, simultaneously concealing and revealing a fleshy and earthy underpainting. Predominantly pink and red forms bubble up from below and pool on the black velvety and glass-like surface. With this series, Trigg considers trauma and how that, on a physical and spiritual level, impacts society as a whole and underscores that the energy and rights of individuals cannot be extinguished. That in response to social injustices, energy will keep on bubbling to the surface, smolder, and reignite.
In tandem with multiple pulls and pushes, Trigg’s painting Edges of a Sea Change, operates as though rendered in a space with multiple gravitational pulls. Time and geologic transformation are momentarily suspended. Space is no longer oriented on a single plane or binaries of up and down, or side to side. Foreground and background are excavated and layered. Swaths of pigmented pumice absorb light while pours of paint are dried but still somehow hold their liquid state.
Through the physical application and manipulation of material Trigg’s work offers a synthesis of the past while simultaneously being imagined for the future. In a time where one can, nearly instantaneously, know everything all at once through media, Trigg proposes a tactile counter. Through a kind of deliberate steadiness, Trigg offers a celebration of texture, color, and surface alongside the rigorous investigation of experience and materiality.
Sarah Trigg (b. 1973, Appleton, WI) is a Brooklyn-based sculptor and painter whose paintings and sculptures have been exhibited widely in New York and across the U.S., including at the Neuberger Museum of Art, (Purchase, NY); the Bronx Museum of the Arts, (Bronx, NY); and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, (Greensboro, North Carolina). Since photographing and authoring her book STUDIO LIFE: Rituals, Collections, Tools, and Observations on the Artistic Practice (Princeton Architectural Press) her work has been featured in a solo exhibition at Black Ball Projects, New York, NY; a two-person exhibition at New Jörg, Vienna, Austria; and a solo exhibition at ada gallery, Richmond, VA; as well as in several other exhibitions and projects. Trigg has been a contributing photographer and writer for New York magazine; a contributing editor for Modern Painters and artinfo.com; and a professor at the MFA Fine Arts Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Modern Painters, New York magazine, The Art Newspaper, Art and Auction, artnet, and The Brooklyn Rail. Trigg lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.