In the studio with Sarah Hendy

Posted by Sean Irving

My accomplice in blogging and I often find ourselves in bizarre situations in the course of delivering content for your greedy eyes. So wandering thought the backstreets of an outer northern suburb in the early morning, dodging broken glass (me) and the amorous advances of a guy in a wife beater sluggin’ back tinnies on his porch before noon (her) is pretty much an average day for us.

But when you consider that this is after braving Melbourne’s less than stellar public transport system then you’ve got some serious journalism cooking.
I’m not saying we’re on par with embedded reporters in Afghanistan, but the epping line can get pretty
hectic. So if anyone is slinging Pulitzers around I’m not going to decline.

Anyway, after wandering aimlessly for a while we found what we were looking for. A long neglected auto factory in an unassuming street full of quaint manicured gardens and prayer-flag adorned awnings that houses the studio of Sarah Hendy, as well as several other emerging artists.

Sarah’s space is modest and tranquil, much like the artist herself. Whilst she is reluctant to discuss her works at length they invariably speak volumes about her character. Her images of nostalgia tinged with the threat of violence are rendered in wholly considered brush strokes that defies categorisation.

Sarah’s technique is simultaneously free and restrained, loose and controlled, poignant and elusive. She draws on a lexicon of images from the larger world that resonate both personally and within the context of a wider popular culture, images of icons, of sex, of mortality, and implicit threat.

By reproducing these images in oils she ensures that they will never be forgotten, elevating from a world of obscure library archives and eclectic curiosities to the realm of fine art and the collective consciousness.

Sarah’s latest body of work ‘The Badlands’ is a sprawling exploration of the forgotten and neglected, the works are both elusive and compelling in there depiction of individuals that have been robbed of context by the camera lens.

Her painting technique is so refined and thorough that she generally covers a few square centimetres of canvas per hour, meaning that each individual piece represents a full week of studio time, there are 46 individual works in her latest body of work, so I’ll leave it up to you to do the math on that one.

Suffice to say that process is of paramount importance to Sarah’s work, the sense of intimacy between artist and image is palpable and almost overwhelming at times.

Standing in Sarah’s studio looking at her source images for upcoming works felt like reading someone else’s mail. It is the intensity of this connection between artist and canvas that gives Sarah’s pieces such appeal, and makes her one of the most exciting emerging artists working right now.

This entry was originally posted at Exhibitions, Misc, Photos and tagged Aus, Badlands, Sarah Hendy, studio visit


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