b. 1981 United Kingdom
Chelsea College of Art and Design
Lives and works in London, UK
"I aim to produce paintings that arouse both a sense of well-being and pleasure, whilst simultaneously suggesting notions of insecurity, fantasy and sexuality" – Sarah Harvey
Sarah Harvey paints fragmented figures floating in a liquid universe. Her luscious light filled paintings often depict the artist herself in turquoise and aquamarine waters. The artist’s highly original technique involves painting from photographic images that she has directed and then manipulated, resulting in deeply expressionistic paintings that combine abstraction and figuration.
Harvey’s instantly recognisable practice was originally inspired by a green swimming pool she discovered when travelling in Italy, a trip she took on winning the Bartlett Travel Scholarship in 2003. Since then she has continued to develop a rich visual vocabulary featuring figures suspended and immersed in swirling pools of water. Harvey masterfully captures the swell, surge and undulating effect of the water as it refracts the form of the weightless human figure. Light is present in all of her paintings in the form of glinting reflections, distorted shadows and luminous ripples.
Inspired by pioneering figurative painters such as Francis Bacon and Jenny Saville, Harvey’s work is informed by a conceptual interest in the physicality and representation of the human form. Her anonymous, abstracted figures emphasise the corporeality and sensuality of the body. Harvey plays with perspective in order to position the viewer both above, and immersed within these watery landscapes. In this way her paintings elicit an ambiguous feeling of escapism and voyeurism. The artist continually develops her signature intuitive and gestural aesthetic. Her most recent paintings involve a greater exploration into the abstract potential of an image.
Harvey has received numerous accolades, including First Prize winner of the Ken Howard Award (2007), Grand Prix winner of Art Periscope Award (2007) and winner of the London International Creative Competition (2011). She was also shortlisted for the Celeste Painting Prize (2007), Art Review’s international competition (2009) and Saatchi’s Best of British (2009). Most recently Harvey’s painting Cubist Waters was shortlisted for the Saatchi Showdown: Places and Spaces (2012).
Harvey’s works are in notable public collections including The London Institute of Art and the BP Corporate Collection.
Sarah Harvey is represented by Collectors Contemporary. Sarah Harvey