Sarah’s MFA show!

Sarah’s thesis show [not images, just an ad] is up! The reception was on Friday night. She was one of 7 MFA Fine Arts students in the show, along with two photographers, a metal-worker, ceramacist, sculptor.

I think her paintings are fantastic — beautiful, strange, complex — and the show seems to be a big hit; she’s been receiving accolades from all sides, and she even sold the most expensive painting on Friday night — “Umwelt,” a.k.a. the bat painting, probably my favorite if I had to choose, so I feel a bit melancholy about its leaving our life so soon — to a complete stranger. The MFA has been long & hard in some respects but it’s now possible to look back and see all the stress, self-doubt, and very hard work as leading to this point and to painting that is (I think) richer and most original than the work she’d been doing previously. So I guess it was worth it.

I’m also proud of her for doing the work she wanted to do, when at times it must have been tempting to change her approach to something closer to the norm within her program (which tends to focus on representational, figure-based painting).

She’s going to put all the images up somewhere, but for now, here are two of the paintings, “Swamp,” one of several more representational paintings of plants and cacti, and “Full Moon Sushi Night,” which is one of a group of three somewhat wilder, more abstract paintings that grapple with the representation of nonhuman experience of time and space.

Here is her artist’s statement:

“How do you paint a living thing – for example, a bat? The lesser long-nosed bat migrates across the Sonoran Desert every year from Mexico to North America. It follows a specific nectar corridor across the burning desert. Columnar cacti like the Saguaro bloom at night, exuding a melon-like scent. Without the sustenance of the nectar from blooming columnar cacti, the bats wouldn’t survive the long trip, and the bat guano fertilizes the cactus. The two creatures are locked into a fragile interdependence resting on delicate timing. The bats use echolocation, not perceptible to human ears. The bat, or any living creature, embodies more times and spaces than my human eyes can perceive.

How do you paint a smell? How do you paint echolocation? – a bat’s, a whale’s? How do you tell the story of any living thing?”

Sarah can be emailed at: sarahp812 AT, and the images can be seen at: