How do you think about the frame of a painting? Some of your recent work is —
Warped a bit?
Yeah, warped a bit, playing with the outside of the frame. Can you talk a bit about that?
All of the paintings that I've been working on in this series have been based on photographs. I always like to reference the frame of a photograph. Using a frame hints at that I think of the paintings as objects. It's not making an illusionistic space — this is an object with a texture and shape.
The ones that are warped came out of messing around with the perspective warp in Photoshop. But I also like all the framing devices I used to try to make the viewer second-guess what they're looking at, try to interact with the space that it's showing.
So speaking of elements of the work that highlight it as an object — you also frequently use sand in your work. Can you talk about what draws you to that as a material?
In undergrad I was doing a lot of cutting out foam and gluing ceramics onto the pieces. It came out of wanting a more textural element because I was pairing them with really flat and hard edge acrylic painting with very smooth gradients.
But I wanted to include a material with texture and that was also really uncontrollable and gloopy — that made this push and pull with the really hard stuff and really clean stuff. So I've been using the sand for making clouds and the water and the land. It really worked out. I love spraying on the sand to act like the light hitting the clouds or the water — if you don't know it's coming off of the canvas already there are a few tricks that it can play, which I’m into. The burlap does that, too. It really picks up this texture that you might not know is actually there; if it exists or if you're just imagining it.
I love looking at op-art and color theory because they're all about tricks. What you're seeing isn't actually what it is, and it changes if you look at it for longer, if you get closer to it, if you put the color on something else.
What have you been working on in Wassaic, then?
I’m continuing this series that I started two years ago. The ones that are finished are pretty strongly based on very specific color studies in The Interaction of Color by Josef Albers. I’m pairing them with the landscape photographs as a way to reflect upon moments in time and memory. Spaces that provide reflection or trigger nostalgia.
For me, a lot of that is the water, because I lived on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland until I was 11. And sunsets in general, because they're fleeting. Just looking at the sunset, knowing you're already nostalgic for the moment that you’re in.
Saskia Fleishman (B. 1995, Baltimore, MD), graduated Rhode Island School of Design in 2017 with a B.F.A. in painting. She has been an artist in residence at The Jentel Foundation, Tongue River Artist Residency, Vermont Studio Center, Wassaic Project, PADA Studios, ChaNorth and Trestle Studios, and a curator in residence at Otis College of Art and Design. Saskia’s work has been exhibited at Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia, PA, Dinner Gallery in New York, NY, Unit London in the UK, Goucher College in Baltimore, MD, MOCA Arlington, VA, and Silo 6776 in New Hope, PA, among others. Fleishman is currently based in Philadelphia, PA.
2019 Summer Residency