Sarah is the second artist I am profiling while at the Baer Art Center in Iceland. Sarah lives in Boston, is American and teaches at the Art Institute of Boston(AIB) at Lesley University. Go here to see her website. Sarah is primarily a painter but draws and makes mixed media pieces as well, particularly making grids out of small wood panels.
Sarah is an accomplished artist with now a long career teaching and exhibiting her work. I had a conversation with her the other day in my studio in Iceland.
In asking her about her early career path as a painter I learned she studied at Wesleyan with a stint abroad in Rome through Tyler, and did her graduate work in painting at Pratt in NYC. She cites early influences as being Van Gogh, abstract expressionists Mark Rothko, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, etc. I added that I felt that seeing those artists early in one's career could be a way to understand that there are possibilities and/or careers that could go down a similar path. She agreed and said that those artist's work informed her that there was a far bigger world out there than simple representation and/or figurative work. Sarah was the daughter of a teacher and an American literature professor and grew up in Portland, Maine and has several sisters who are either full time artists or have been in arts related fields their whole lives. She is married with a teenage son and lives in Jamaica Plain, MA which is a neighborhood of Boston.
Sarah is also a career teacher with stints at Carnegie Mellon, Tyler, Oberlin, Holy Cross and Wellesley.
We have been making slide presentations of our work while we are here and Sarah presented her work a few nights ago. I'll show you a few pieces from her slide show:We learned that night that, while earlier works usually came from something she read or something going on with her (pregnancy, breast feeding, etc), more recent work over the past several years came from a more intuitive place
with some repetitive themes such as the painting above that uses scorched wooden panels. Because she works on smaller wood pieces that then get assembled on the wall as a larger piece, many of her paintings are quite large, sometimes as much as 8 or 10 feet across.
These are difficult to show here because they are large in reality. They are shocking when projected on a big screen and I can't wait to see some real pieces when I get back home. There is a level of detail and depth to this work that is wonderful as they seem to go back and back and back.
The painting above is shown full size. And below is a detail from that painting:
I was blown away by her work, her work ethic and her quiet force not only as a painter but also as a person. It is an honor to be a resident here in Iceland with her.
Sarah at work on a new painting in her studio at Baer:
Sarah's work is represented in Boston by Ellen Miller Gallery.