What does a furious shade of blue sound like when it hits lunar silver?
Romina Salem’s paintings suggest a sort of expanded synesthesia—or the strange ability to see forms and colors in music. But here it’s just the opposite: visual impulses generate a soundtrack in the mind of the beholder. The inner music that the canvas stretchers give off can be envisioned as a glossolalia of color that invades the senses of the unsuspecting.
In the world of the selfie, of folders bursting with jpg files, of an exponential invasion of screens, these paintings seem to be images of another order. Detritus of panoramic views of exteriors, portraits of nature transfigured, and even a certain dissonant and metaphysical landscaping that escapes the visual to expand into other senses. That’s why it comes as no surprise that these intense blocks of dreamlike landscapes clamor for a life in sound that goes beyond the canvas.
Where the tacit boundaries between the map and the territory blur, where the figurative is no longer mere representation but distortion and static of its own meaning—that is the place where chromaticism is not satisfied with being solely visual. If bright, jungle-like colors alongside a coin-like silver might resemble polytonality, it is closer to the frenetic cadences of Coltrane, Coleman, Ayler, or Sun Ra’s free jazz than to a contemplative Debussy or a Ravel. Stridence as palette.
When it comes down to it, the chromatic fully embodies its twofold meaning, its meaning as vision and as sound. Listen to colors, see sounds. All painting generates some sort of music, but in Romina Salem’s paintings that is not just a vague association, but a living being that is there sounding out, awaiting someone who can listen to colors with no need for amplifiers or speakers.