Sasha Ferré’s first solo exhibition with Unit London explores painting as a space to express the intangible aspects of human relationships to the natural world.
Named after the biological process by which all organisms develop shape, Morphogenesis presents a series of abstract and imaginary landscapes that weave together to form a deeply interconnected body of work. Inspired by philosopher Andreas Weber’s notion of Erotic Ecology, Ferré considers how all living things grow together and long to connect with one another, especially through touch. These ideas are further reflected in the arrangement of the canvases; each canvas flows seamlessly into the next as colours from one work leak into another, immersing the viewer in a richly interconnected environment.
Ferré’s visual language takes shape from her intimate relationship to her medium. She keeps physically close to her artworks by involving her whole body in her process. Ferré does not stand in front of her canvases while working. Instead, she opts to lay her artworks on the floor, crouching over each one. Through her study of ecology, Ferré became increasingly aware of the environmental damage that is caused from the solvents in oil painting. Wanting to be part of the solution, the artist instead uses oil sticks in ample energised gestures. Working alla prima, Ferré applies the material directly with her hands, disposing of brushes in order to create a completely unmediated relationship to the material. Ferré savours the sensuousness of the oil medium, using her fingers to blend the creamy viscous material onto each canvas. The strong scent of natural beeswax and linseed oil that emanates from the oil sticks introduces a multi-sensory aspect to Morphogenesis, which is enhanced by the use of sound throughout.
Morphogenesis is not only inspired by research of ecology and biology, it also speculates on what our relationship to the natural world could be. Seemingly separated from the wilderness in her urban Parisian studio, Ferré uses a deeply material imagination to conjure wilder environments to her canvases. Her abstract visual language draws attention to less tangible living things, conveying an acute awareness of natural processes and microscopic encounters that are invisible to the naked eye but are, nonetheless, ever-present. Germination, vegetal growth, theories of plant sentience and the imperceptible exchanges between microorganisms are a source of fascination for Ferré. An awareness of the unseen, yet crucial, workings of the vegetal world allows Ferré to imagine and create vibrant landscapes that buzz with heterogeneous lifeforms in the midst of an urban environment.
Each of Ferré’s abstract landscapes takes shape through improvisation. In a process comparable to jazz music, Ferré relishes in the thought of the unknown, allowing abstraction to unfold uninhibited. Through this process of improvisation, Ferré encourages viewers to form their own interpretations of her artworks, allowing recognisable images to form through her abstract visual language. Whether these images are microbial, vegetal, floral or something else entirely, these canvases let us linger with a motif for a moment before drawing our eye elsewhere. In essence, Morphogenesis celebrates painting as a site of limitless imagination in which form, matter and meaning spontaneously and continuously grow together.
Hope is the Thing with Feathers
196 x 140 cm
Lush life I
120 x 100 x 5 cm
200 x 160 cm
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