Review by King Molapo
Stylistically speaking, Samaj has traversed extensively from his earlier, color-oriented paintings in which coloration and metaphoric symbols served as similes for a meditative tranquility, this however, does not essentially indicate that he has cast off the conceptual undercurrents that made his previous body of work so forceful if not contemporary.
As an artist Samaj is stalwartly interested in the mind’s constructions, which become his initial approach no matter whether he is working abstractly, or realistically.
Most recently he has been working with the mechanics and language of pure abstraction. This is evident in his latest paintings, where a single rudimentary line decides the aesthetic values followed in choosing what to paint, and the compositions are basic, essential and reduced to a stark simplicity; while the physical techniques employed are driven to a particular aesthetic movement, such an abstraction as can be described as Samajesque.
The forms are developed from specific concrete examples of mental events – a state in which the artist is deep in thought and not concentrating on his surroundings. Here the philosophical process by which the artist develops concepts is either from experience or from other contemporary concepts.
One reason the new paintings are, to say the least, a compelling and provocative body of work is that they are created very much in the opposite direction to the current movement and grain, in a time when Painting is considered by many artists and critics to have arrived at its end, to have been outshined by other art forms, to have perished.
The ENTRY/DROPLINE series started in New York, in the summer of 1999. These works represent a third distinct phase of production, which started in San Francisco in 1972.
The title ENTRY signifies the concept of an initial cognizance. Dropline is used literally to denote rendering the line. The finished works are abstract, in the sense that I have little or no contemporary reference. They are also abstracts, because they depict the essence, of the impulse, concepts and sensations that were born, of that moment.
I start with a skeletal process, refined through it’s evolution, a highly structured mental process of real time decision making, based on an evolving criteria, and controlled, by an innate genetic memory. Then ensues a myriad of decisions, with the only initial criteria, being the prior cessation of conscious thought. Linked line segments sequentially flow uninterrupted. As paths are connected, one line has traveled the full length of the surface. This one line suggests both form and sensation on symbiotic reality. Cognizance of the forms that emerge from creating a culmination of paths is made static, translated as source (reference), and used within the process, throughout the development of the work.
A refocus on the elemental has caused me to abandon the pursuit of beauty for correctness, and I take no responsibility to envision outcome. It is that, of which I give the viewer to read.