Sarah Shaw's paintings hover in a place between figuration and abstraction which allows the viewer the space to impose their own interpretation. Time collapses as past, present and future are represented in oil paintings that obey a non-linear chronology: they stand simultaneously as a visualising of the past and as a perception of the present. Some of the work’s imagery springs from the artist’s imagination, while other work explores metaphorical or symbolic images/barriers/passages and evokes ideas about living through time.
Characteristic of Sarah’s work, the process revolves around the building up and stripping down of imagery, and the exploration of different painterly languages, eventually being reduced down to the lowest denominator where an edgy quietness falls. They are not whole images, but snatches of images, sounds and thoughts, forming into coherence briefly… like a painterly slideshow of memory. Ultimately the paintings speak of a belief in the enduring vitality of painting as a primary form of visceral and visual communication.
“These recent paintings were inspired by Rorschach inkblot tests and the theory behind them - that the subconscious/unconscious mind can be revealed by the study of ambiguous replicated imagery. The act of painting in itself seems to echo this process, revealing one’s own subconscious thoughts, though this does imply a lack of control over the imagery. I see the painting process as being not so much unconscious but rather a kind of accelerated consciousness in which decisions are being speedily made during the painterly dialogue. I wanted to make a body of work which was ambiguous enough to allow the viewer to be transported by their own thoughts rather than dictated to by my own, and for the paintings to continue to reveal themselves the more they are viewed.”
Sarah studied at Falmouth College of Art. Her work has been purchased by private collectors in the UK and abroad, and most notably by Ronnie Wood. She has featured in many notable competitions, including the National Open and the Aesthetica Art Prize and was recently shortlisted for the prestigious Threadneedle Art Prize.
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