September 1st, 2023
Samantha Da Silva’s artwork harmoniously weaves the essence of nature, spirituality, and innovation into painting-like relief sculptures of transcendental beauty. Through her masterful interplay of natural materials and unique textures, she invites viewers into a realm where the tangible and the intangible converge in a symphony of ethereal enchantment. Her creations evoke a sense of wonder, captivating the senses and inspiring contemplation of the profound interconnectedness between the human spirit and the natural world. We at Gallery MAR are now proud to welcome her and her work to the gallery.
Samantha Da Silva’s artistic journey, marked by introspection, innovation, and a deep connection with the natural world, has solidified her status as a visionary creator. Born into a family of artists spanning three generations, Da Silva’s path was imbued with both privilege and challenge. Being raised in an artistic environment inspired her from an early age and gave her the encouragement to express herself artistically, but the legacy of her family’s artistic abilities cast a bit of a shadow over her growing up. “Having that rich pedigree made me feel like everything had already been done, and it had been done by all of these incredible family members,” she explains, “I worried that I had nothing worth contributing.”
Da Silva attended art school but her concerns about an artistic vocation reemerged and she pursued other paths for many years. That is until 2007 when Da Silva reached a personal crossroads. “I really believe that life has a way of putting you back on the track, the personal track of your own purpose and meaning,” she reflects. After the close of a particularly challenging life chapter, Da Silva asked herself “if I’m going to be here in this world, what is it that I’m meant to do?” It was then that she heard a voice speaking to her. Call it intuition or divine intervention, “It was a faint voice at the beginning but it just said “art, you need to do art.” This soul-stirring revelation marked the inception of a profound transformation.
Casting aside doubt and conventional wisdom, Da Silva seized her newfound artistic journey with unwavering commitment, a commitment that persisted even amidst the tumultuous backdrop of the 2008 financial crisis. She reflects: “I remember thinking, ‘this makes no sense, this is impractical. People are holding onto their money [because of the recession]. They’re not going to have money to spend on art.’ However, I felt like this was divinely inspired, this was my intuition and I knew that I would be on track if I dedicated myself to it 100%.” Now this past year, Da Silva is thrilled to celebrate 15 years as an artist.
Throughout the past decade and a half, Da Silva’s art has become a grounding force for her. Having moved over forty times in her life, the works she now creates are deeply inspired by her sense of place and displacement. “The experience of being uprooted, and forced into a near-constant state of transition, adaptation, and assimilation has profoundly shaped me,” Da Silva says. Each piece then becomes more than a work of art to her: they become something of cairns, mapping out where she’s been and grounding her to her present place. After years of a life in flux, her artwork has become her one true grounding sense of “home.”
Throughout these experiences, Da Silva establishes relationships with each new place through her art: whether by “soaking canvases in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii or submitting artworks to subzero temperatures in Canada, to see the effects of the elements and environment.” Her artworks embody a dynamic interplay between mediums and textures, informed by her fascination with materials as diverse as volcanic soil, salt from the Bonneville Salt Flats, and the earthy hues of local canyons.
Her artistic process isn’t always meticulously planned though. Instead, Da Silva prefers to begin with intention, and then let nature take its course. In this way, nature itself becomes her co-creator, expressing its own unique experience of the landscape alongside the artist so that each stroke of Da Silva’s hand and each infusion of Earth’s natural essence, contributes to a harmonious coalescence between human intention and the natural world.
Da Silva’s beautifully earthy, metallic color palette is, to some degree, the result of this experimentation with her co-creator, nature. Most of her colors are entirely of the artists’ creation and intention, like with the metallic powders she utilizes – antique golds and copper hues – , infusing her works with a luminous quality that refracts light in a manner reminiscent of natural minerals. Other times, however, nature surprises and delights her with its unique processes, like the way that salt from the Bonneville Flats alters the texture of her work or the way that the iron-rich red dirt from a local canyon reacts with her pigments. Da Silva welcomes these dazzlingly unexpected contributions, rejoicing in the ways in which the landscape leaves its indelible mark on the canvas.
On one particularly daring artistic endeavor, Da Silva hosted a fine art retreat in Costa Rica during which she painted on an unstretched cotton canvas that she brought with her. On a whim, she posted online her idea of wrapping the canvas around her body and swimming in the ocean with it. Our very own Gallery MAR owner Maren Mullin was one of the first people who responded. Da Silva recalls, “Maren replied, ‘do it!’, and I thought, if Maren’s telling me I should do it, then that’s what we’ll do! I believe we paint who we are and the canvas is a reflection of that, so we ran into the ocean with the canvases wrapped around our bodies, and it was amazing.”
Now, Samantha Da Silva is proud to be represented by Gallery MAR, who coincidentally, also just celebrated 15 years. Da Silva gushes, “I’m completely elated about working with Gallery MAR. I’m still kind of in shock and awe and excitement. I’m so open to getting to know the Gallery MAR collectors and staff, and I’m looking forward to all the good surprises along the way. I’m sure it will be more incredible than anything I could have imagined.” Here at Gallery MAR, the feeling is entirely mutual.
As Da Silva’s creations now grace the walls of Gallery MAR, we hope you’ll allow her art to guide you on a transformative journey of their own, to a transcendent realm where the tangible and intangible, the seen and unseen, coalesce in a symphony of profound beauty and boundless possibility. Experience the work for yourself in the gallery today or visit her artist page on our website here to be further inspired and energized.
Written by Veronica Vale