Edinburgh-based artist Sarah Muirhead has been creating stirs of excitement since graduating in 2009 from Edinburgh School of Art, as whispers of this emerging artist have grown on the art scene. After a restorative period away from her paintbrushes, Sarah is returning in a special solo exhibition at Leyden Gallery in London for her first and highly anticipated large-scale show in over two years.
Bonded focuses on an exploration of the human body, further developing Sarah’s intrigue with its potential to merge pleasure and pain. Her ability to capture the human form in sublime and unconventional ways is heightened further with her subjects being characters living just outside of the mainstream world, creating a spectacle of dancers, tattoos and other divergent forms frozen in time across her canvases. Elsewhere, subtly vibrant colours create a psychotropic feel to her works as figures merge and mould. If you are looking for an exhibition to expand your perception of the body, Bonded will be waiting for you with open doors.
Sarah Muirhead | Bonded
3rd June – 27th June
Private Viewing 2nd June 18.30 – 21.00
9/9a Leyden Street
London, E1 7LE
The exhibition will be supported by a few pieces created by guest visual artist Paula Rego and surrealist painter Leonor Fini, in order to produce the opportunity to engage in each artist’s work in relation to one another. Excitingly, this will be the first time that this pair of internationally renowned female artists will be showing their work simultaneously.
The title Bonded became a joint feature between curator Adriana Cerne and Sarah, bringing together many of the themes – both visual and suggestive – as well as linking with Paula and Leonor’s guest pieces. The concept title also relates to Sarah’s personal relationship with her art and her muses.
“The large painting of my friend Kasia – ‘Self Restraint’ – links more literally to this idea [of Bonded] too. She is a Shibari artist (an ancient form of Japanese rope bondage) but I find her practice and technique exciting because she doesn’t have a master. She ties herself and suspends from ropes. She’s turned in to a bit of a favourite person of mine and as a model I find her fascinating because she has turned something inherently submissive in to a defiant controlled work of art.”
In a similar motion, Sarah Muirhead herself continues to take moments such as a gesture, pose or emotion, and turn them into a vibrant and strong piece of art within itself.
“I’m fascinated by the physicality and spirit of a body and it’s potential for pleasure, pain and expression. Idiosyncratic character is intrinsically important in my work but an anatomical, pulsing, critical view is also there. The detail is accurate but not necessarily realistic up close and is a record of my examination of the subject and my relationship with them rather than a slavish copy of their every pore…The potential ambiguity and tension in the eye contact of a still image is something I find enormously compelling and I have tried to appeal for a reaction in the viewer using it in several paintings for this show. I want the bodies I paint to be a strange mixture of lurid, glistening attraction and true empathic realism avoiding elegant cliches. They reflect private selves and acknowledge my inescapable role as a voyeur in observing and recreating them…A period of serious illness has detached my idea of personality from physicality – I want to paint the two back together again.”
Leyden Gallery have become well-known for their support of the rise of emerging artists alongside their forwarding-thinking programme of ever-growing exhibitions and one off events. If you would like to find out more about Bonded or Leyden Gallery, you can visit their website.
Hear no Evil