ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to present Blue Rainbow, the first solo exhibition in Toronto by London, U.K.-based Canadian artist Andrew Salgado. Featuring a suite of new paintings by the internationally exhibited artist, the show runs from Thursday, Oct. 4 to Saturday, Oct. 27, with an opening reception with the artist on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 7:00 p.m.
Blue is associated with the sky and the sea - vast spaces often used as metaphors for freedom and inspiration, or signifiers of tranquility and calmness. Perhaps this is why Andrew Salgado chose this colour as part of the title of his exhibition Blue Rainbow. After years of making work in which the political was very personal, Salgado's new paintings find him unburdening. "My practice was being weighted down by my own history," he explains. "I have been vocal about LGBT issues, but I think I'm cooling down."
Salgado insists that his latest work isn't political; however, with the rise of right-wing attitudes in many parts of the world - and the anti-LGBT sentiments that often accompany them - producing positive representations of gay people can be read as a political act. Salgado, who has been the target of hate crimes, dealt directly with his experiences in earlier works such as Bloody Faggot (2011). That painting represented what he was going through physically and emotionally at the time. In 2017, when he mounted a solo exhibition at the Canadian High Commission in London - making him the youngest artist to do so - Bloody Faggot was a central work in the show.
Salgado has closed the door on that period of his life. Now, he wants his work to be about the sense of joy and discovery that he experiences while creating paintings, and he hopes that visitors to his shows feel the same when viewing them. "The process, the joy, the colours, the feelings I get ... I want those to be enough for me, and I want them to be enough for viewers," he says. "I've learned to stop talking about what my work means because what others bring to it is just as important as my intentions."
Salgado's figures throughout Blue Rainbow are situated within vibrant and textured environments that suggest the out-of-doors: quiet moments on azure beaches, walking through a garden or contemplating a cobalt sky at dusk. Serenity, freedom and expansiveness inform the paintings; they serve as meditative yet irreverent rejoinders to the socially and politically proscribed lives that people too often feel hemmed in by. "A line from the Bjork song Big Time Sensuality - 'it takes courage to enjoy it' - really hit me recently," says Salgado. "I've heard this song a million times, but suddenly I was like: Oh my god, that's so true. So, this show is me, learning to enjoy."
- Bill Clarke