Oil on canvas, 2004
Collection of the artist
Nala Sallie is the youngest member of the Sallie family. Nala is a confident, proud little girl whose small frame embodies a youngster with a rich family history. Her large, extended family has its roots in Madison, New Jersey, where her grandparents still reside. Many of her family members congregate after church each week for Sunday dinner at Mom Sallie’s house. Oil painting comes from a specific visual language of illusion and representation. I embrace this tradition but also challenge it by balancing the gap between the illusion of reality and the reality of physical paint on canvas. The use of thin washes of color alternately with varnished glazes and wax mediums creates translucent layers that add another kind of depth or dimension. This painting represents something like the highest level of human rights through the freedom in the brushwork and the intuitive painterly approach. The atmosphere around the figure is almost tactile, creating a presence all its own that seems to appear and dissipate in the painting. There is a heroic dimension in the scale, expression and composition of the work, giving it a monumental presence.