Shalala is continuing work that he began more than 30 years ago. While finishing his MFA he became compelled by the work of Lucio Fontana, specifically the work Fontana did with raw cut canvas and raw cut linen canvas paintings. This work is of special interest to Shalala. Fontana called his cut paintings ‘spatial concepts’. The raw cut canvas pushed the viewer to see the material, the canvas, as a painting in and of itself.
Considering Fontana’s work, while in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, with the use of minimal paint, then no paint; Shalala began using pieces of raw canvas, poking holes, using glue and then collage to create paintings without use of paint. Taking the process further Shalala began to use canvas thread as the medium in and of itself. He created outdoor paintings by using the canvas thread to define the space in an outdoor setting, for example a field or garden to spatially define the painting.
The paintings are temporary, the color of the palette defined by space and light rather than pigment applied with brush. The paintings are super reductive painting recorded with documentary photography. The canvas unraveled is now a line rather than a plane. In this way Shalala returns the abstract painting back to the nature.