Sarah Longworth-West, ‘Vivid’, 2014, oil paint, spray paint, oil bar and oil pastel on pigmented gesso panel, 42 x 30 cm.

Sarah Longworth-West’s recent panel paintings have focused upon creating dystopian non-spaces that are hard to locate but overall give the atmosphere of a place in which people or remnants of them occasionally inhabit. She writes ‘I am interested in the ideas surrounding ruins.

I make a traditional handmade gesso adding pigment or overlapping layers to fuse colour. Whilst preparing the gesso surface on board, I fanatically sand for a smooth yet inevitably flawed surface (reflecting the paintings’ content) that, when inspected close up, reveals the intricacies and incidental qualities of the material.

Figures are present through their absence and it is this ambiguity and implication of figure or form, which often gives momentum to the paintings’ construction. I am interested in the interplay of representation and abstraction. The use of borders as a device to be a visual weight, container, edge, colour-activator or frame are of recurring importance in allowing a painting to be compressed or subtly released at their boundaries.’

Sarah Longworth-West, ‘Harlequin’, 2013, oil paint, spray paint and silver leaf on pigmented gesso panel, 60 x 42 cm.

‘Remnants of Them’ is a sculptural painting comprising of various pigmented gesso forms on a multi-tiered table. This display mode is a visual link to the layering process of image-making used whilst composing a painting. The wooden structure and the precious rock-like paint fragments relate to the object based images located in the painting practice and in turn could themselves be from one of the panel paintings dystopian spaces.

Sarah Longworth-West, ‘Remnants of Them’ installed at Aldeburgh LOOKOUT. Gesso and wood, 115 x 35-60 x 90cm.

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