Breaking the Barrier of Self

a philosophical self-reevaluation through Art
It is common to hear people say that they have moved to San Miguel with the intention of “finding themselves”. This is not a new concept, however, let us not be so colloquial and also mention that some people move to New York to find themselves, or to Italy, or to Walden Pond, or back home with the parents, for that fact. What strikes me about this comment is the word “Self’ and its conjunctive forms. It is a term that has been eluding my deciphering since my early twenties when in college I read Borges’ “Labyrinth”. The semantics are overwhelming on this one. It is the reason that the title alone of Roland Salazar Rose’s new body of work, “Breaking the Barrier of the Self’ sparked my interest and honed my analysis to such a teeth grinding, fixation that made it impossible to pull myself away from his studio. Did he mean it as a noun, pronoun or adjective? I was not going to ask, I was bent on figuring it out for myself.
Salazar must have struggled with his Self and its definition, as most artists do, for most of his life, as he has lived and studied in the US, France and Mexico, each country with innately different cultural expectations and definitions of the Self. From every conversation with the artist, I can tell he is a deep and spiritual person who very much loves creating his art, yet there is a struggle within him (for there must be one in every passionate person, artist or not); does he listen to his American side or his Mexican side or does he scrap it all and re-define his Self’? How does one incorporate it and still “Break its boundaries”? This is not meant to be a philosophical article. I am no Schopenhauer. Nor am I willing to go into such depth on a topic on which whole philosophies are based. I am admiring that this artist was moved to ponder such a topic, for what are artists if not visual philosophers? I do not claim to really know Maestro Salazar well enough to delve into his sub-conscience or even into his conscience for that fact. I can only interpret his art in the manner I interpret everyone else’s, based on my own personal experiences. It moves me, all of it. Before me is a Mexican inspired art brut. The landscapes and the portraits with their bright colors and intensity and fluidity of strokes and the translucent quality of his medium are speaking to me. Yet, I still cannot stop asking myself what the tithe has to do with anything? (Over analyzing the titles of artwork is the biggest downfall of being a literature major that places too much emphasis on the power of words.)
All of a sudden, in a moment when I leave my head behind, it all starts to make sense. On a reread of the title, a sense of freedom comes over me, a feeling that reminded me why abstract art can be so attractive, the Freedom. The color and light and intensity of San Miguel have taken the Self and have set it free. Will it be a permanent freedom? A futile question without an answer in the present; it distracts from the moment. For the moment it feels good, it looks great and it set me free.

By Melanie A. Harris
“Breaking the Barrier of the Self’, newly inspired works by Roland Salazar Rose exhibiting at Galerla Atelier, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico NOW and July 2606
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