Cristina Salusti attended both Tufts University and Manhattanville College, where she received her BFA, as well as Columbia University where she received an MFA in Art and Education. Her professional career as a sculptor and ceramist includes numerous exhibitions and awards, among them a Fulbright Fellowship in Italy, a Pollack-Krasner grant, a MacDowell Colony residency, and a residency at the invitational Stone Carving Symposium in Iwate-ken, Japan.
For all of her life, stone has been the material that speaks to Salusti. She has always been attracted to the ancient silence trapped in the marble and granite works of Italy, where her family is from, and where she often searched the quarries for the perfect rock. Clay — stone’s malleable and less mysterious opposite — entered her artistic practice serendipitously. While Salusti was studying sculpture at Columbia University, she would take breaks from her stone to chat at the nearby ceramics studio, and so, when a back injury prevented her from lifting anything heavy, she was already immersed in the medium. Eventually, her passion for stonework resurfaced when she began recreating its appearance in clay by pressing chips of her sculptures into the soft surface.
As in her marble and granite sculptures, Salusti is constantly exploring the juxtaposition between smooth and rough: like a geode split with a clean cut or an oyster cracked open, her vessels reveal a jewel-like, pearlescent interior held in a coarse shell of pinched clay. There is an instance of surprise when discovering the light gleaming inside a lava-like bowl, like suddenly stumbling upon a secret treasure. Some of Salusti’s more recent pieces evoke the iridescent blue of an icy mountain lake while another might conjure the lush green depths of a jungle. Most are lined with a layer of 22-carat gold, some with platinum over gold, and often crackled in the Japanese tradition. They collect and reflect light the way a pond does at dusk as the vessels appear illuminated from within. Pieces are often fired as many as ten times to achieve the desired inner and outer patina. For the artist, her otherwise non-utilitarian objects have just one task: “I want their presence to be felt as a quiet, meditative place that makes you pause.
Salusti has had work in a wide range of exhibitions throughout the U.S. as well as in Germany and Japan. Her first solo show with Valerie Goodman Gallery was held in 2013.
2013 Valerie Goodman Gallery - New York City, NY
2012 View Art Center - Old Forge, NY
1985 Manhattanville College Brownson Gallery - Purchase, NY
2018 Art at the Kent, Kent Museum, “Backstory” - Calais, VT
Brooklyn Berlin Gallery, Studio S Rosenthal, “Eulen nach Athen” - Berlin, Germany
2017 Valerie Goodman Gallery, “New Work, New Space” - New York, NY
King Farm, “LandArtLab” - Woodstock, VT
2016 Carla Massoni Gallery, The Unsettled Earth: The Art of Stewardship” - Chestertown, MD
King Farm, “Grounding” - Woodstock, VT
2014 Carla Massoni Gallery - Chestertown, MD
2010 Simon Pearce Gallery - Quechee, VT
1991 Korean Cultural Center, “Cross Currents in Sculpture,” curated by Margaret Cogswell - New York, NY
Long Island University, in collaboration with Jeffrey Simpson - Brooklyn, New York
Scott Hanson Gallery, “NY Outside the Clock: Beyond Good and Elvis,” curated by Robert Longo - New York
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, “UNFORGETables” - Los Angeles, CA
1989 Kenkeleba House, “Pillar to Post,” curated by Terry Adkins - New York, NY
1987 Everson Museum - Syracuse, New York
1986 Concord Museum, “Tablescapes” - Concord, MA
Mendecino Arts Center, “Modern Pottery,” curated by Kathy Erteman - Mendecino, CA
1984 Biblioteca Communale, “Le Donne Nelle Arti” - Pietrasanta, Italy