Sarah West

January 6-29, 2017


This body of paintings explores spiritual seeking through our relationships with the digital. The title of the show, mirror/screen/portal, is a reference to both painting and digital devices. Both objects act as mirrors: the painting reflects the trace of the artist’s hand while the digital device acts as a literal mirrored surface. Both objects serve as screens, depicting imagery on a 2-dimensional plane. Additionally, both paintings and digital devices serve as portals into a perceived other, cerebral world. These bridges between the physical and the virtual persistently move us throughout history and allude to the possibility of an alternate, spiritual realm.

Recent paintings within this series feature abstract glyph-like forms that give way to a volumetric Renaissance space. These markings are inspired by finger swipes on touchpads and mobile device, our grease-stained traces of interaction with the screen a merging of tactile and virtual fields. The searching intimacy of the hand in relation to its digital device echoes the relationship we once held with illuminated manuscripts, intended to simultaneously mesmerize in their divine depictions and provide an accessibility to the sacred. My paintings reference Early Renaissance paintings, familiar Photoshop tropes, computer games, hand-manipulated digital scans and stock computer wallpaper of holographic water. Through pairing sacred narratives of the Renaissance with digital symbols, the work suggests the spiritual undercurrents within digital technology in its potential for enlightenment, transcendence, and evoking a sense of the infinite.

Sarah West is a painter whose work examines the ever-changing digital landscape and the spiritual narratives inherent in Early Renaissance work, fusing disparate imagery and color palettes to convey conceptual overlap.

West has exhibited her work nationally in many group shows and in recent solo shows in Washington,DC and Winston-Salem, NC. This past year West was featured in the South 2016 edition of New American Paintings. West received a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from Wake Forest University. She subsequently received a Post Baccalaureate certificate in Visual Art from Virginia Commonwealth University and was then awarded an Enrichment Scholarship by School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she studied painting for one year. West earned her MFA at Clemson University in 2012 and has taught painting and drawing courses at Clemson University and Columbus State University. West maintains a regular studio practice at DC Arts Studios in Washington, DC.