The paintings in Muted Forces explore the idea of landscape through layering and materials that are visibly impacted by time, much in the way that the world around us has been formed. Nika Blasser’s work is permeated by attentiveness to material dynamism; how simple components can be used to reveal, rupture or redeploy our perceptual awareness. She has an ongoing interest in the intermingling of a contemplative hand with reclamations made by the forces of nature.
This series of paintings developed out of an earlier series of “saltscapes” which were made only with salt and pigment on paper; in this exhibit, she has added more mediation and increased the complexity of the images through layering disparate materials. The first layer is textured and often topographical in nature, which is then highlighted by either copper or silver leaf. This layer of reflectivity creates a luminous base and a dynamic interaction with light—a continual motif in her practice. Multiple layers of ink and paint provide visual structure and atmosphere over the leaf. Finally, she paints areas of salt water over the surface, allowing crystalline structures to emerge as the water evaporates. The salt crystals form with somewhat unpredictable results; this element of chance—and the tension created between things that she can control versus things that she cannot—is also a perpetual inspiration for her artwork.
These works encapsulate a literal crystallization of time while enfolding concepts of duration, transformation and ultimately revealing the hand of nature.