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.