On-site residency, April 2019
In April 2019, the Californian artist born in 1984 has captured the spirit of the Domaine des Etangs on a canvas, sampling its endemic flora: leaves, branches, plants. He then laid it outdoors, covered in dry pigments left in the sun and in the night, to be soaked in dew or rain.
Like on a photogram, the outlines of each plant element then appear. Offering a trace, their presence, the memory of a place.
Sam Falls composes dedicated paintings of landscapes. A tribute to nature, to its diversity, its fragility, revealing the uniqueness of each space. An ode to the living, to light and to its almighty power.
A 2010 ICP-Bard graduate in photography, Sam Falls chose to produce images differently, by distancing himself from their mechanical reproduction in favour of a principle of extended natural exposition. All began on a canvas on which he had laid out some plant life, according to a modus operandi more akin to performance, land art, than to the gesture of the painter, even though the use of pigments lies at the heart of the process. His practice is syncretic, on the border of disciplines, between photographic fidelity, pictorial interpretation, sculptural momentum and in situ work.
A confident observer, he lets himself be guided by light, on the lookout for the traces it will reveal, and by his unfailing devotion to nature, its vegetation, its intimate being.
Herein lies his raw material, exposing the canvas to the sun, while the rain or dew drops blend with the dry pigments, and time does its work. The image develops of its own accord, contributes to its own emergence. A work that involves patience, research, walking too and collecting, requiring total physical commitment. The sites he visits then disclose some of their secrets: hence he has produced a floral portrait of each national forest in California, displaying the great abundance of their ecosystems. A landscape per se, the quintessence of space revealed in the canvas, geological and meteorological time condensed, the raw and wild materiality of the earth and of what it is capable of nurturing. In the era of the Anthropocene, Sam Falls’ work renews with the natural powers and with their sole truth.
Twilight, Pasture, Thunder, Rivers, 2019
pigments on canvas
127 x 189 cm