Brooks Salzwedel

On the way home tonight, I stopped at a shop just to smell soaps. I smelled one after another, searching for a smell I wouldn't find, something that reminded me of my mother and my childhood, some Proustian talisman to transport me to another place and a time when things were easier. It wasn't an easy day today.

As I get older, I see more and more that the things I love conjure something deep-seated within me. Even certain cadences move me with memories of songs or my Dad's peculiar accent, his rolled r's and pulled vowels. And I remember a time when I wanted everything to feel new and strange and now, so often, I want things to feel worn-in and so deeply visceral I can't point to their origin.

I've had the work of Brooks Salzwedel bookmarked for a while. Graphite pencils strike those deep chords inside me. I remember pencil sharpenings falling between the glass and the ornamented edge of our nested tables, the smell of the desk-mounted sharpener I eventually stole away to my room from my dad's desk. It was orange. I remember how graphite would tarnish the outer edge of my right hand when I drew, turning it pewter.

Salzwedel's work is layered and mysterious, often concealed inside tins that evoke childlike feelings of treasured collections of buttons or pencils, or smells of shoe polish or wax. And hidden inside this heady concoction of sensations is a treasure for one, a secret to share, a delicate mystery kept safe.

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Images via: Gallery Nucleus | George Billis Gallery 
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