Michael Salerno’s art has been a mainstay on the Los Angeles scene since the artist moved here from NY in 1976. His paintings and digital works are atmospheric to the point of being dense monochromes of polychroma; Yet his drawings have entirely different concerns. In these, Salerno presents the element of the drawn line (manual gesture) as paradox: Does line alone champion the individual gesture, salute the egalitarian scribble or critique them both?
The artist himself provides few clues, letting the work stand ambiguously as treatise and test of will. The questions abound, does his art represent a commitment to abstraction or a subatomic deconstruction of the practice? Is his hand-drawn line a conceptual exercise to question all mark-making or a celebration of the pure gesture?
According to Mr. Salerno, 1996 marked a transition in his work from line based paintings that explored the basic nature of human mark-making throughout history to a new body of work that blended the use of line to delineate light, space, time and the physical world, revealing the startling similarities between molecular structure, atmospheric conditions, stellar systems and our own, more familiar personal landscape. Recently, the artist’s work appears to hide indications of line, possibly to more directly evoke visual situations and circumstances.
In Los Angeles, a variety of art styles investigating irony and questioning the nature of individual efforts helped define the 1990s. Michael Salerno’s enigma is that his art easily illustrates the arguments of these heavyweight schools of thought as much as it stands as testament against them.
Salerno’s artworks have been featured in more than 200 exhibitions in galleries and museums nationally and in Europe.