New Jersey Artist Raymond Saá Presents New Site-Specific Installation at William Paterson University Galleries

New Jersey artist Raymond Saá investigates depth and space by layering painted cardboard in a new site-specific installation, on view in the University Galleries in the Ben Shahn Center for the Visual Arts at William Paterson University in Wayne from September 8 through October 16, 2015. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on September 20 and October 11 from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Sunday, September 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. The artist will give a talk on his work on Thursday, September 24 at 2 p.m. in the University Galleries.

For Saá, the painting and drawing process is very physical and often instinctual. He prefers to work on several pieces at once, which enables him to think about one work while moving forward with another. In this way, his works inform and cross-pollinate each other. He often paints and collages pieces of paper, which are sewn into large abstract compositions. He has also experimented with scale by arranging painted wood panels in wall works at Wave Hill, Bronx, NY, and the Queens Museum of Art.

In this site-specific installation, Saá transforms mundane materials such as house paint and cardboard produce boxes collected from local grocery stores into monochromatic and polychromatic compositions that depict abstract and botanical forms. His fascination with nature can be traced to his childhood visits to tropical botanic gardens in Coconut Grove, Florida, where he grew up. Commenting on this imagery, Saá explains, “I am very influenced by the resilience yet delicacy of botanical subjects particularly when it comes in direct conflict with urbanity. There is something inevitable but equally magical about a tender vine pushing its way through tarmacadam and enveloping a man-made structure.” Much like a trestle of vines slowly blankets its support, Saá layers his sculptural elements along the gallery walls, as they appear to reach toward the sunlight overhead.

Saá earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and a master of fine arts degree from Parsons School of Design in New York. His work has been shown at galleries and art institutions throughout the United States, including exhibitions at the Queens Museum of Art, White Columns, New York, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara, CA; the Islip Museum, East Islip, NY; Wave Hill; Museum of Art, San Juan, Puerto Rico; El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY; and the CUE Art Foundation, New York, NY. Saá has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Teaching Fellowship for the National Endowment for the Arts (2004-2005), the Pollack Krasner Foundation (1998), and the Joan Mitchell Foundation (1997).

The exhibition is one of three on view concurrently in the University Galleries. On view in the South Gallery is the annual exhibition by members of the William Paterson University art faculty. Artie Van Blarcum: Honorable Mention, on view in the East Gallery,presents the work of a self-taught photographer who experimented with alternative techniques, and whose work was donated to the University Art Collection by renowned photographer George Tice.

This exhibition is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The William Paterson University Galleries are wheelchair-accessible. Large-print educational materials are available. For additional information, please call the William Paterson University Galleries at 973-720-2654.

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