Sally Saul

In the Woods



November 13, 2020 - January 30, 2021

Press Release

Sally Saul 

In the Woods
November 13, 2020 - January 30 2021
Rachel Uffner Gallery is pleased to present In the Woods, Sally Saul’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Focused on new ceramic sculptures, this show demonstrates the artist’s ongoing interest in the monumental themes of innocence, mortality, and vulnerability, and reads as a personal meditation on the world as it exists today.
Reflecting on this body of work, Saul states: “The sculptures for this show span several months living with the coronavirus and the attendant disbelief, anxieties, and sorrow for the death of thousands of Americans. Thus, to some extent, the work reflects the tensions of these months but also I hope some of the small pleasures which have taken on a new luster.”
The sculptures presented here embody a spectrum of emotions — while some take up a more joyful, humorous tone, others appear menacing. Assault, for example, depicts two empty flower vases engaged in a violent embrace. In Troubled Waters, a female figure, surrounded by encroaching and ominous waves, glances up at the viewer with a fearful, worrisome expression. Works like Hard Times, a self-portrait of the artist in a protective mask, and Caution, a standing figure who seems to be reaching out to ensure proper distancing, directly reference realities of the pandemic. Yet Saul is able to interject a sense of humanity into the heavy discussion with her characteristic wit. Details such as a swath of red lipstick painted atop the protective mask in her portrait and the animated facial expression of the standing figure, bring lightness to a perilous situation.
Saul continues her statement with an anecdote about her garden: “This summer, a friend constructed for me a small perfect vegetable garden, one of these pleasures, which I tended. At some point, a cloud of insects descended. Some were good, such as a praying mantis, some bad from my standpoint... A small world of life and death contained within an 11 foot square plot began to fascinate me and give me a new respect for the life we rarely notice.


Then there’s my husband who has taken to sitting on the deck in the evening communing with the tall sugar maples watching how the light changes on the foliage. He never expressed much interest in nature, but this has become a necessary part of his day. All of this is to say that the past year has changed us. We look more closely, care more deeply and that goes into the work, I hope.”
In The Woods also includes sculptures of a variety of birds and plants observed from her garden. Bringing these moments of “small pleasures” from her daily life into the gallery, Saul ultimately illuminates the relationships between all living things while paying homage to the tenderness inherent to the natural world.
Sally Saul (b. 1946, Albany, NY) earned a Master’s degree in American Literature from the San Francisco State University in 1973. During her time in California, she became acquainted with the Bay Area visual arts movement, characterized by a penchant for bright colors and an interest in drawing subject matter from day-to- day life. In the early 1980s Saul relocated to Austin where she enrolled in ceramics courses at the University of Texas, and began to formalize her process. Informed by memory, her sculptures came to explore complexities of the human condition.
In recent years Saul has achieved significant milestones in her career. Her first survey exhibition Blue Hills, Yellow Tree, opened in May 2019 at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY. The exhibition brought together works from over three decades, representing her years spent in San Francisco, Austin, TX, and beyond. Saul presented a solo show at Almine Rech, Paris in January 2020. She has also participated in exhibitions at venues including Jeffrey Deitch, New York, NY; the Art Museum of West Virginia, Morgantown, WV; the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; White Columns, New York, NY; and Lumber Room, Portland, OR; among many others. In 2018, the artist, with Peter Saul, co-curated the exhibition Out of Control at Venus Over Manhattan, New York, NY. Saul lives and works in Germantown, New York.


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