Denver artist Sabin Aell's airy layered resin pieces look soft and cloud-like as they float across a wall so free and easy, but the process she uses to create them is anything but. In advance of Aell's solo show The Buoyancy of Nothing, which opens this evening (May 8) at Walker Fine Art, we chatted with Aell about what it takes to set these pieces free.
Aell begins by taking photographs, which she transfers to a translucent Mylar film and cuts into shapes that will end up stacked between layers of resin. For Buoyancy, she purposely chose abstract images to work with in order to create the installation's look, which puts one in mind of looking up into the sky. Sometimes she further decorates these shapes with ink drawings; along with more shapes cut from lightweight aluminum, she begins to layer them in up to ten strata. “It creates a nice 3-D feel to it,” she says. "And it's interesting because you never know exactly what it will be at end."
Aell also prefers to work with organic shapes in these works as a conscious effort to break away from the idea of a square on the wall. “It's not just like a piece on wall,” she explains. “It creates more of a mood.” Her pieces for Buoyancy go further in this direction in that she also sands the resin between layers: “They almost look like frosted glass – totally matte.” In the gallery, the works are installed within a framework Aell directly paints on the wall.
And that name, The Buoyancy of Nothing? What does it mean? “It comes from the theory that nothing and everything are pretty much the same,” Aell says, “especially at that moment where you are free-floating and just very you....” Instead of remaining attached to “what you know from past that is already gone,” she hopes viewers can experience the sensation of living and working in the moment.
The Buoyancy of Nothing opens with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 8, and runs through June 20 at Walker Fine Art. The gallery will also host an art talk from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on May 26. Visit Walker Fine Art online or call 303-355-8955 for details.