Sarah Barker Brown

Vote for  Sarah Barker Brown for the People's Choice Prize   here. 

Lou and Nick (2020)

Oil and Ink on Board

52 cm x 77 cm


My paintings explore our contemporary social, emotional and sexual lives via a visual cocktail of pleasure, nostalgia and seduction. I employ different painterly languages – oil paint, ink pattern transfer or epoxy resin - to create multiple layers, developing an intimate relationship between content and surface.

Lou and Nick, 2020 is painted in oil mixed with linseed to create a slippery medium, which allows for a fast and flowing application, allowing me to record my visceral, immediate responses.

I seek to paint people exploring their images and identities on their own terms, but with tenderness and respect, combining my love of the decorative (here the fragment of wallpaper uncovered in this room) with the provocative.

This painting was completed in February 2020, but the experience of lockdown has made me see it differently.  The extremes of emotion I have felt I see mirrored here in the very dark and very bright contrasts within the work, and the juxtaposition between the empty spaces and the busyness of the pattern. It plays into the need for closeness that I have wanted, but not able to experience with all those I love. Intimacy – whether embraced or forced - has felt integral to my lockdown experience, alongside isolation. Looking now, I see Lou has grey roots, reminding me of all those missed visits to the hairdresser. - Sarah Barker Brown, 2020

Sarah Barker Brown is a London-based artist with a degree in Classical studies, a training in Footwear Design from Cordwainers College and a previous life founding and running a successful footwear company.

Sarah graduated from the Art Academy with a First in Fine Art Diploma in 2017, winning the 2016 Kennerly Prize for Academic Excellence and 2015 United Society of Artists Bursary. This is Sarah's second time as a Holly Bush Emerging Woman Painter Prize finalist, having been selected in 2017. In 2017, she was also selected for the Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize. 


Recent work has been included in Beep International Painting Exhibition, 2018, RSMA Annual Exhibition 2018, Discerning Eye 2018, both at the Mall Galleries, Sex! Human Construction and Human Connection at The Crypt Gallery and Diverse Figures at Burgh House, Hampstead. Earlier this year she co-curated and exhibited in Hidden Worlds at Newington Gallery, London SE17.

Solo exhibitions include Private Lives as part of her Artist residency at BFC cafe, Crouch End, London, Life Stories and The Lives of Others at her studio as part of the Crouch End Open Studios in 2018 and 2019.

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