Maria Zahle Me As Paper (Madder) 2021 Cotton paper, alum treated and dipped in madder plant dye, adhesive Dimensions variable, size of paper approx_ H161 x L500cm
Maria Zahle
Me As Paper is a roll and a surface, hovering between image and object, sculpture and painting. As the title suggests the work is not merely a prepped material, a roughly dyed expanse of paper, but rather a type of self-portrait. If the artist was made of paper, this might be what she would look like.
Me As Paper (Madder) - 2021
The contemporaneity of Zahle’s work resides partly in [an] honest and pragmatic approach to materials and processes, her dedication to spending months growing a plant to make dye or weaving a sheet of cloth and her preparedness to clicking ‘buy’ on a manufacturer’s website for other materials. Its contemporaneity also lies in the sense of personality that she infuses in her works, and it should be said that earlier artists, concentrating almost exclusively in materials and processes for their own sake, did not think of their work in such terms. But more than this, Zahle’s work speaks to its moment with its central claim: that in a world of pandemics, ecological catastrophe, economic instability, and war, there is an ever more pressing need for abstract art, for a kind of art whose meanings do not lie in any message, but in our own responses to never-before-seen arrangements of materials and colours, of things as simple as paper, wire, cloth, and stone.