Bay Area Artists explore the Artistic Qualities of Salt

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March 13, 2016

(Courtesy of Rachelle Reichert) Mills MFA Rachelle Reichert gathers salt from across the country to explore the chemical and social elements of minerals in art.

(Courtesy of Rachelle Reichert)
Mills MFA Rachelle Reichert gathers salt from across the country to explore the chemical and social elements of minerals in art.

Salt. We eat it, we sweat it and now we make art with it.

On Feb. 27,  four artists drawn to this mineral showed their work at Bridgemaker Arts, a small hole in the wall exhibition space with a huge and intricate garden in Richmond, CA.

The art shown at this exhibit ranged from art made from salt sculptures, to two-dimensional salt works, to photographs of the mineral.  These pieces ranged from smooth and organic sculptures reminiscent of canyon walls, to abstract photography, to two-dimensional geometric enameled pieces.

The salt-based sculptures were done by Rachelle Reichert, a Mills MFA who works in many mediums and uses minerals including salt, graphite and silicone. Reichert’s salt scuptures are small white objects, filled with grooves and erosions which create lines, shapes and shadows.

“My practice balances on playful investigation and intensive research of the chemical, economic and social elements of earthbound materials,” Reichert said in an email. “Predominately graphite, salt, and more recently iron and natural pigments.

Nature also plays a role in the use of materials, as Reichert collects her salt from various locations across the country.

“Currently, I am working with salt from the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean,” Reichert said.

Humans experience salt in various forms, but not many choose to experiment with its artistic capabilities.

“I was drawn to its properties and capacities – its crystalline structure, pure white color and relationship to the body,” Reichert said.

Salt can be used in more than just fine art, says BridgeMaker arts board member Regina Gilligan.

“Salt has some pretty good meanings to me,” Gilligan said. “I have been an art teacher and made some art crystals with grade school kids…it’s magical watching that formation happen.”

BridgeMaker arts is in an obscure part of Point Richmond, perhaps one of the last remaining Bay Area non-gentrified gallery spaces. This space tries to show art that will benefit its community.

“I’ve been excited about having [a show] that would benefit community here, and build community,”  Gilligan said.

The space is located on the site of Bridge Storage, a storage unit business. This business decided to give a portion of their units to artists to use as studios. Now, they have 25 studios and an exhibition space where visiting artists show.

According to Bridgemakerarts.org, the exhibition space has helped transform the definition of a storage business, and has also helped change and build the community of its surrounding Richmond neighborhood.

For anyone wishing to see the exhibit, the gallery’s hours are Wednesday to Monday, 11a.m.-5p.m.


Bay Area Artists explore the Artistic Qualities of Salt was published on March 13, 2016 in Arts & Entertainment, Featured - Features, Front Page

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