Daniel Larkin, “A Blue Gallery Tour of Chelsea,” Hyperallergic, March 11, 2016
Saul Becker’s paintings have long been informed and enchanted by the natural world’s seductive abundance. With the delicate accuracy of a camera lucida drawing and the stark contrast of a photogram, Becker is adept at utilizing methods of photography; his brand of realism stems from manipulations of photographs taken on Arctic expedition. Recombining images and memories, and in this latest body of work, mirror images, the paintings suggest dreams more than documents, and are enhanced by the haunting, frozen quietude of the subject, with what Ken Johnson of The New York Times called an “infectious, distinctly contemporary mood of existential perplexity.”
The human relationship to nature, fraught and imperiled, lies at the heart of Becker’s practice, which the artist describes as seeking “to make the uncertainties of this relationship palpable.” And this he does by way of a deceptively simple brushstroke that unfolds under scrutiny into skittering, uneasy gestures. Far from hyper-real, the technique lends itself to evocative depictions of lichen, snow, ice, water and the many mottled surfaces that pervade Becker’s compositions.
Saul Becker (b. 1975, Tacoma, WA) lives and works in Burien, WA. He received a MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University; Richmond, VA and a BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD); Halifax, NS. In addition to several exhibitions with Horton Gallery, his work has been featured at Artists Space, the Horticultural Society of New York, and Socrates Sculpture Park, among others. The artist is the recipient of numerous awards, residencies, and travel grants including the Virginia Museum of Fine Art Fellowship, the Washington State Arts Award, a NYFA Fellowship, The Arctic Circle 2010 Expedition, and Gros Morne Artist Residency. His work has been discussed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, NY Arts Magazine, and The Seattle Times, among others.