Sarah HaBaOakland, CA
My paintings map the domestic life, the interior life, the life lived inside the home and inside the head. The pieces of this life - the plates, the tupperware, the cups and spoons – are monumentalized until they hold the accumulated emotion of the confined space of the home. The luminescence and blur of the subjects recall the shifting fog of the Bay Area. The stroke is reminiscent of the Bay Area figurative painters, the visual education of my childhood. The paint is thinly layered on board so that the exposed wood grain becomes visual static, forcing an emotional cap on the viewer as a clear image is denied. It is my hope that this work will show its viewers the quiet impact of a contained life.
I started painting in high school because I wanted to. I paint now because I need to.
I grew up in Sacramento, California in the 1970’s, a product of the California Figurative movement. The art of the movement trickled in a constant drip-drop of a visual I.V.. I would see the art at the local Crocker Museum shows. I would get to observe up close the luscious brushstrokes in our family friends’ collections. I stood motionless in front of Bischoff and Diebenkorn paintings and assimilated and assimilated until by the time I laid my first brush to canvas in high school, I knew how I wanted to paint.
I attended college at U.C. Santa Cruz in the early ‘90’s. And paint I did. I searched out all the painting classes and tried to glean every little ounce of knowledge from my professors. I still think about many things my teachers taught me – the importance of atmosphere, the weight of shadows, how light destroys form. It was also in college that I met my husband. The first day of beginning drawing we had to pair up and draw each other. We’ve been together ever since. After college, we moved to San Francisco and lived in the Haight/Ashbury neighborhood. Our first daughter was born in 2004, our second in 2008. We live across the bay in Oakland now. My studio is in Berkeley.
I continued to paint and show after college, but it wasn’t until after I became a mother that painting became paramount in my life. I need to put brushstrokes onto canvas in order to process my life as a mother. I need to paint painting after painting, barely stopping for a breath, so that I can carve out an emotional space for myself. Although my paintings are still-lifes, they are not just about things, but about emotional states. My highs and my lows are laid bare. Through cropping and brushwork, the paintings hover in the in-between space between abstraction and representation. I am influenced by Tuymans and Morandi.
Since 2004, my art career has blossomed. I show steadily, and am in many collections. I have received “Best of Show” awards in several well-known juried shows. I joined Chandra Cerrito’s gallery in 2007, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artist’s Gallery in 2008, and Galleri Urbane in Dallas in 2010. I look forward to what the future brings and am so excited to see the paintings that come out of it.