Solo Show Brighter Than the Sun
October 16 to December 3, 2019
Nancy Toomey Fine Art
South Africa based artist Lyndi Sales’s Brighter Than the Sun exhibition continues to reflect her ongoing interest in perception and vision. Like the sunset in a science fiction film, her use of color in these works is hyper-saturated and psychedelic, challenging our habitual modes of seeing. The otherworldly hues of luminous orange, radiant purples, and electric blues merge and flow into forms that appear to be slightly outside the realm of our natural senses.
Sales begins the work as a kind of meditation, mixing and painting acrylics in strips with different paint consistencies. The application of paint varies from watery blends that bleed into one another, to very specific gradients of light and dark. This repetitive process is then deconstructed and collated by cutting the strips and arranging them in specific piles of color sequences, emphasizing precision and flow. The strips are then glued intuitively, and arranged into their final compositions.
Earlier this year, Sales went to the Brazilian jungle to partake in four ayahuasca ceremonies with a shaman. This exhibition is partly a result of that experience, and her art has consistently explored a deep desire to see beyond the mundane. Producing this body of work was cathartic, as were a number of visual references that provided inspiration—from both the macro and microcosmic universe—including scientific images such as radial graphs of the human DNA genome, crystal formations, microscopic images, color spectrum graphs, data visualizations and coding, as well as drawings by ancient mystics.
These works continue Sales’s exploration of and reference to Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception and his documented experiences with mescaline. Whether we are able to access other worlds through plant medicine such as psilocybin, through meditation and yoga, or lucid dreaming, Sales is drawn to all these practices for many reasons—to escape day-to-day concerns, to see with the inner eye, to acknowledge a system that operates behind the veil of what we are able to perceive, and partly to feel a oneness with the universe. As Huxley wrote, to behold a world where “the colors were brighter and purer, and yet made a softer harmony… the winds were sparkling and diamond clear, and yet full of color as an opal…”
For Sales, these works are a merging of dreams and wakeful hallucinations over the past two and a half years. She says, “There is often a light and a shadow side to desires, contributing to our humanity and expressing our universal duality. By acknowledging these unconscious aspects of our personalities we are able to know ourselves more deeply and realize these are merely traits that help us experience life as we know it. I was inspired by a period of intense dreaming, experiences, and feelings. I’m constantly trying to perceive my world through a lens that can see beyond the everyday. Whether our vision is stimulated through spiritual experience, sacred ceremonies, silence, or nature, I am greatly intrigued by connecting to an alternative realm.”
The smaller filigree cut works are inspired by shattered glass experiments, as well as net-like structures that occur in nature. Painting with clear water, and then carefully dropping India ink into the painted area, provided a process of surrender with the outcome always uncontrollable. That surrender for Sales encompasses a letting go of personality traits, our physical bodies, and any knowledge of what the future may bring.
The exhibition’s title comes from a comment published on the forum of a virtual game, which goal is to reach Utopia - by the attribution of points for finding butterflies in desolated urban landscapes.
If the insect is the symbol of metamorphosis, from hatching to blossoming beautifully, the rainbow refers to an immaterial, splendid and fleeting reality, to a desire that cannot be fulfilled. It suggests a bridge between two elements of different nature such as the physical and spiritual worlds. Thus, “I found a rainbow butterfly once” convenes- in a poetic and simple manner- the singular instant, the experience, the memory, the dream…
The composition of a hormone that makes people love, a crystal structure and its parallel among the stars, deep web and mandalas: Lyndi Sales borrows from the scientific and technological imaging as well as from symbolic representations. She questions, juxtaposes, looks, dreams to confront fears and fascinations, marvelling and horror. Through her two or three-dimensional works, the artist pushes back the frontiers of the visible to reach a better comprehension of the world. Her exploration of social realities comes with a spiritual quest.
For years now, she has been finding some of her inspiration in the cutting-edge spatial research while also learning from Buddhist thinking. Navigating between microcosmos and macrocosms, between the tangible and the immaterial, a number of her works are looking to give shape to dualities such as light/obscurity, masculine/feminine, life/death. A desire for balance, visions and utopias or even other possible realms characterizes Lyndi Sales’ universe which is profoundly shaped by her environment: a highly-contrasted South-African reality where innovation and material deprivation live side by side.
Her language is the language of beauty, such as the captivating beauty of the butterfly that embodies the possibility of mutation.
b e i n g – l o o k i n g
Our relationship to the world starts in our own body. A “Primary tool”, its constitution determines our capacities to perceive and interact with the “exterior”. Sight, in all its functional and psychological complexity has been for a long time at the core of Lyndi Sales’ work that questions her own perception of and about the world: functioning of the eye*, visions of cosmosand society, drugs and religion as ways to access a broader vision*. This need to see further probably comes from personal tragedy: the loss of her father in an unexplained plane crash, the theme of her first exhibition in France. Thus, In transit (2009) highlighted notions of fragility, chance and rebirth.
Life experience, a need or a fact are always at the origin of the artist’s artworks.
s e a r c h i n g to k n o w o n e s e l f
In its own way, the scientific world enables to see further, to fathom what escapes us.
A result of the conversations with researchers at the Texas A&M College of Engineering, the physical phenomenon of a plane passing through the sound barrier and the fragmented space left by its passage inspired Lyndi Sales to create the monumental mural work Chaos and flow, love and fear (2018).
The code of the human genome is the inspiration behind the Human genome tapestry, which composition in concentric circles recalls mandalas, symbols of the universe’s evolution and involution.
Lyndi Sales was born in Johannesburg in 1973. She lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.
The circle, a recurrent motif in the artist’s work, represents the entirety, the fulfillment, the unique, the resonance. Just as it suggests the links/connections between the big everything and the modest place human beings hold, between the rational world of science and the spiritual world.
The exploration of the link is also visible in the collages Pituitary gland and Oxytocin : I’m addicted to you. Respectively, “key body gland” and hormone that favours social interactions. The pituitary gland and oxytocin are evoked in a crystalline shape beaming with particularly luminous colours.
In large laser-cut cardboards entitled Love and fear, Lyndi Sales establishes a parallel between the areas of cosmic energies and those circulating between beings. She superimposes registers of quantum physics - gravitational attraction and expansion, matter and dark energies - to human feelings of attraction and repulsion. Matrix-networks with complex frames, sometimes organic, sometimes straight, dense or frail. The surfaces of the works are saturated with layers of many colours - as many strata of different emotions and their contraries.
d r e a m i n g i n d e p t h
One night, a dream inspired by a visit to the Paris Catacombs takes Lyndi Sales to a new world of Utopia, connectivity, love, sadness and abandonment. A transcendental experience or trip caused by a drug? Left puzzled, the artist questions herself and gives shape to dreams in an ensemble of hand-embroidered tapestries. (A place where I found moments of …: Catacomb dream map). Constructions, labyrinths, models and symbols are juxtaposed. This newly created cartography presents similarities with her series of drawings inspired by an aerial vision of transformations caused by the mining activities in South Africa. The Erosion drawings tell the story of the precarious destiny of the Zama-Zamas, illegal minors rummaging abandoned mines in the hopes of finding gold.
As for the eponymous work of the exhibition, it presents a weave where the central thread expands in winding lines. Free deviations, they evoke Internet browsing or virtual games where the browser /gamer ends up discovering things beyond their search field. Just like the unconscious in a dream, diving into the Internet can lead to shifts and surprising contiguities. Lyndi Sales reminds us that parallel worlds - virtual or dreamlike - are also fields of an expanded reality.
Going from the specific to reach the universal, Lyndi Sales explores fundamental structures and symbols through a diversity of cultures and fields of knowledge. The chosen shape, medium and technique carry as much signification as the subject matter.
Chance, hope, transformation, chaos, harmony, movement, observation, quest for love and infinity… Lyndi Sales’ rhizome-like work embraces very widely to show the impermanence and fragility of fundamental conditions. I found a rainbow butterfly once explores the multivocity of a whole and offers a unitary vision of existence.
Satellite Telescope commissioned for the Engineering building at University of Cape Town
Castle in the air opens on the 1st September at 6pm and ends on the 8th of October
Sales’ new body of work exists at the interface of art and rationalism, reason and wonder. Working with hand-woven textiles, sculptural installation and painting, she uses the “basic building blocks of the universe” as a departure point for her artistic enquiry.
Whilst located in a scientific register – an interrogation of the properties of light or the cold crystalline structure of chemicals – this original departure point is refracted through the lens of art and infused with a deeply personal aesthetic sensibility. Conceived symbiotically, Sales’ surprising melding of art and science take on new and curious configurations. For Sales, it is wonder that binds art and science in mutually beneficial exchange.
1 September - 8 October 2016
2 Jellicoe Ave
011 788 4805
Solo show opening at Whatiftheworld
19 September 09h30- 14h00
A hemisphere resting on a horizon
by Anna Stielau
Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine—
Unweave a rainbow […]
John Keats, Lamia, Part II (1820)
A recent show at Circa
6 February - 22 March 2014
A new solo show by Lyndi Sales titled Deep Sky Survey
runs from the 7th June – 12 July 2012
at WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery
A new solo show titled Passive surveillance
runs from the 21st October – 3rd December 2011
at GALERIE MARIA LUND
Art works created between 2008 and 2009.