Sylvia Safdie lives and works in Montreal, Quebec
Gathering is the essence of Sylvia Safdie’s work. Manifestly diverse, her paintings, sculptures, and drawings are unified by the elementary nature of its materials (glass, metal, earth) that she gathers in the mountains and forests of the world she visits and explores. Safdie uses these various materials in her work, often without any alteration. By threading a branch through a sleeve or joining two stones with an iron staple, Safdie submits these objects to minimal transformation. Without hurting the objects, she leaves only a trace of the artist’s able hand in her work. Safdie prefers these natural forms. She relishes in the strange and surprising effects of these materials. These seemingly disparate objects form and enhance each work, investing it with richer meaning.
Safdie paints with the earth. Earth is collected in small earthen bowls. For the artist, the earth constitutes the rawest of raw materials: the original source from which the formal practices of painting and sculpture diverge. The earths are included neither for their pretty colours nor their malleability, but simply because they come from different places around the world. In this way Safdie strives to achieve universality in work. She is not only an artist of earth, but an artist of places.