“One wanted, she thought, dipping her brush deliberately, to be on a level with ordinary experience, to feel simply that’s a chair, that’s a table, and yet at the same time, It’s a miracle, it’s an ecstasy.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
THESE paintings chart the progress of a continued journey for Sarah as she explores her response to the world around her. In a year when we have witnessed turbulent change, these paintings offer an antidote with their calmness and serenity. There is a focus on the everyday and the ordinary, on the reassurance of familiar objects and nature that surrounds us. Uncertainty in the real world is counterbalanced here by the comfort of complementary colour, composition, light and seasonality. Witness the glow in the sky in Morning Light, the recognisable turning of time in The Glorious Autumn. While the richness of palette in The Clock Struck Twelve and To the Lighthouse, for example, display a gentle evolution in style.
A recurring compliment heard in the gallery is “these are optimistic paintings”. Sarah imbues her work with freshness and light. How this is achieved is partly subconscious, but she is also aware of the meditative process involved in her muted, abstracted still lifes. Motivated by artists such as Breon O’Casey whose mantra was to keep “taking away”, until, in Sarah’s words, there is just a “gentle hum, a flickering of colour”. A simplicity. This is echoed in the still life window views, where narrative elements such as gardeners and sailors, or inanimate objects like a teapot on the windowsill, hint at an ongoing story. Yet, it is enough just to be there, to lose oneself in the moment, “to be level with ordinary experience”.