April 22 - May 28 2023
In rebuilding avenues of trust, the softness of human connection is reflected in the neutral pastels employed on the canvases—browns, pinks, blues, and red tones evoke a return to the earth, a return to simplicity.
Fruit of my Past
Nationale is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of Portland-based artist Salomée Souag. In Fruit of My Past, Souag channels the Âme, or soul, as the spiritual link present in each of her works. She pulls from a deeply personal part of her selfhood as the site of all emotion and power, willing these paintings to both express a current state of healing and a future existence as totems to this act. At their core, these paintings stand as symbols for shedding shame, of a guttural erotic liberation, and of Souag’s re-embrace of intimacy. In rebuilding avenues of trust, the softness of human connection is reflected in the neutral pastels employed on the canvases—browns, pinks, blues, and red tones evoke a return to the earth, a return to simplicity.
The fluidity of lines and shapes mimic the natural curvature of place and body at times guiding the artist as she marks their presence. Alongside the canvas pieces are soft sculptural works interspersed in the main gallery. These textile variations on form and femininity regard the same difficult themes in a tangible manner, with the interior forms serving as stand-ins for one's inner “guts” and beliefs. Vulnerable to time and external pressures, these sculptures may bend and shift over time yet ultimately retain their forceful stature.
Regarding a connection to patterning and symmetry, Fruit of My Past pointedly refers to deeply rooted cycles of toxic behavior and the rebirth that comes from breaking free of these very same systems. Works such as Listening Ears or Who Are We without Our Women? are revolutionary in their reclamation of space and womanhood for an artist herself renewing her life through an intentional commitment to healing. The poetic forms rendered in Conté and natural pigments foraged around the Pacific Northwest are subtle odes to physical, female bodies so ravaged by a culture intent on exploiting them. These shapes are soft and supple to the eye, and completely malleable under Souag’s precise hand. They are at times shifting, breaking and changing, in multiple variations, before achieving their final form. Much like a butterfly in its chrysalis phase, the process of transformation itself is mesmerizing. Slow and gradual, this suite of work is a representation of peeling layers back and opening up raw emotions. Of thawing into the world and recognizing that blooming is as painful as it is beautiful.