Saturday 10 October 2009

Sarah Ollerenshaw

Walking with the Father

In the Quiet

Sarah Ollerenshaw is an emerging artist with a background in fine art restoration. She studied Spanish and History of Art at Birmingham University and then took a postgraduate diploma at Christie's which led on to an apprenticeship in restoration and conservation. Throughout her studies and restoration work she has always painted.

Sarah creates a sub structure on the canvas and then builds up layers of paint. The canvases are then gilded in part, distressed and waxed to a high finish.

Sarah's paintings are contemporary and yet they communicate a sense of age together with a timeless impression of sacrifice, hope and, fundamentally, of love. They reflect on the tension created between loving God whilst living in and being of the world. They are emotive pieces which challenge and provoke new explorations of what it is to relate. Her influences include Spanish art from the Golden Age, mediaeval art and icons and religious imagery of early altarpieces.

Sarah writes:

"My pictures are a contemporary take on the portrayals of holy people and their varying visual emotions that we have experienced throughout the history of art. I love everything from the contorted agonies one sees in mediaeval altar pieces ... grief, compassion, love etc to the drama and intensity of the Spanish Golden Age painters (17th century), namely Ribera and Ribalta. My work is meant to convey a sense of age which is why I create the 'fresco effect' substructure and why I distress the gold much as I want them to look modern and fresh I also want them to look as though they have been seeped in history.

They are meant to be contemplable. They are meant to make you stop and think. They are meant to make you think about 'big' things such as what it means to love, what it means to sacrifice and most of all how we the viewer relate; not just to the picture itself but to those around us. It is this 'hyper reality' that I want to encourage; for the viewer to become the co-creator of the work and for my painting to challenge their present. By that I mean that the viewer, when standing in front of my work has the potential to see and experience love when he needs to see love, compassion when he needs compassion, even grief if he the viewer is suffering.
I am a Christian (Church of England) and am an active member of my church and my work stems from my love of God. It is incredibly important to me however that my works are accessible to everyone. They are meant to be emotive pieces which challenge us and provoke new exploration of what it is to relate."

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