Raél Jero Salley's artwork addresses a wide range of human experience. His practice struggles through issues of representation, broadly. It is grounded in the history and tradition of painting, and the creative work addresses its subjects in non-linear, non-narrative ways. In his work he responds creatively to things and ideas that strike him as interesting—space, movement, landscape, abstraction—big ideas, and also small ones too.
“I produce artwork in series or groups. They come together and appear as projects. I think of the works appearing more like constellations. It's challenging to communicate this verbally or narratively, but visually it can make sense.”
His work examines archival photography where each photograph is a starting point for producing a painting. Ideas are expanded on by working through them visually in paintings which are based on one (or a few) of the photographs discovered.
This process allows the ideas and working method to be—in a strange way—both conceptual and material at once. As he goes back to the idea of constellations and the idea that humans have probably always made connections by means of picture making—by drawing imaginary lines to link one celestial body to another to gather a sense of our place in the universe.
His general interest is in how we look at things and expect them to be meaningful. He wants his pictures to generate more questions than answers, to open and expand dialog rather than close it down by offering answers.