Saturday, May 29

Sarah Awad and Making Decisions

I found Sarah Awad's paintings today through Visual Inventory blog. These are simple paintings dealing strongly with what is sometimes so hard for me to make: decisions.

I mean decisions with paint. There is alot of attention paid to composing shapes and marks with seemingly simple execution. With a surprisingly short career so far, it's impressive how she understands how a scarcity of abstract marks can say alot more.

I am not always interested in subject matter but with a Mathematics's degree along with Illustration and Painting, Sarah Awad's paintings could be ripe with things I have yet to think about. Just the War Games series tends to explore this really eerie idea of military and our own security. Each of the images tend to have these great overworked bits of a pant leg or shape of light and then trail off into an unknown thought. And even her earlier work, in a more realist way, tends to mirror Eric Fischl's Beach Painting's.

What I am more interested in, is the stark, graphic economy of decisions she's making on canvas. It seems a graphic quality has imbedded itself in alot of recent painting. But I'm not sure it's always because the artist can paint and instead it's reveals they can't.

I relate to the tight, form building brushwork across a back or on a figure juxtaposed with a nonsensical abstract mark. I like when, in the Standard Surrender (below), she uses the simple gray shape behind the figures to delineate almost all the space. And one man's chest becomes just the right muddy red, while the pants and limbs become painted louder, almost carrying all the sound of the struggling figures. These are ways I have been thinking about making a space - where the actual meets something remembered or lost. Figurative and abstraction.

It's no news painting is about making decisions. But I think it's one of the hardest things, simply because it requires that you trust yourself.

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