Jeff Bailey Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition by Sarah Brenneman, Now Here This, of recent works on paper in watercolor and collage.
Brenneman has worked in watercolor for ten years, utilizing its fluid immediacy to make patterns that are abstract and based on natural forms. Recently she collaborated with the poet Nellie Bridge, and created small works in reaction to her poems, “All at Once, It’s Out, Flying” and “At the End of the City”, about everyday experiences in the city. These works in turn led to larger works on paper.
Brenneman’s paintings are mostly unplanned. Similar to the visual order of the written page, some paintings begin with rows of shapes, but usually there is no specific image in mind. They develop as she paints them. Images or motifs may repeat themselves, but she attempts to make each painting in and of the moment, hence the exhibition title Now Here This.
Painting wet into wet, Brenneman’s vibrant color juxtapositions gel into amorphous shapes. Sometimes she makes cutouts that create negative spaces which cast shadows at the paper’s edge. Collage is integral to numerous works. Each collaged element is painted, cut and then applied, forming another pattern on top of the paper’s surface.
In “Salmonoid Shift”, green, red and yellow stripes project rightward from a collaged pink dot. Cutouts create similar stripes in white. In the upper half of the painting, opaque squares float in an undulating grid, while small pools of high-keyed color overlap in the lower half. Overall patterns and structures emerge, forming a kind of unwritten language.
This is Brenneman’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. She received a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and was an artist in residence at The Millay Colony for the Arts and Chashama. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.