Sarah Delaney: New Work and Process

Solo show held at The Aviary
637 East 15th Ave, Vancouver, BC

October 7 - 21, 2016

As a memory collector, an archiver, and a hardcore nostalgia junky, I know that there is no shaking a fascination once it comes. This interest in the world around me has shaped my practice. My work is an assemblage of where I have been and what experiences have stayed with me. For this exhibit, I have pulled together a sampling of a few things that inspire me. I considered the following questions when compiling my inspiration material: What do I paint? Why do I paint? How do I paint? Upon reflecting on these questions, I have uncovered a few prominent themes found in my work. 

The first answer and theme can be described as place. I see location as the lead character in my paintings. The paintings in this exhibit are all referencing British Columbia. I use colours, textures, symbols, and simplified forms referencing the landscape that I see around me. Nature and traveling are my biggest influences, not only in my work, but also in my life. It is where I feel my most happy and my most inspired.

Next, the reason why I paint, is to preserve memories, to feel alive, and to make me who I am. When I hear letters or numbers, I associate it with particular colours. When I see a colour I am reminded of a place. When I smell a perfume I am transported back to a specific time in my life when I wore that scent. I want my paintings to perpetuate these memories. I try to turn a lived experience from the past into something tangible. I paint my relationships to particular places, by deconstructing them into fragments of a memory.  My paintings are ultimately a product of my existence and my interpretation of the world. Furthermore they are my contribution to this world. 

The last theme of mark making speaks both to the marks I create on my canvas, as well as the marks made on the the physical world throughout history. These markings are created by using my own gestures -- ranging in motion, speed, scale, and equipment. They are a variety of small reactions that illustrate my paths of thought and process. The other side of this theme is the story of the world. A big part of my art practice is to examine and to gather information from my surroundings. I am enchanted by the patterns that occur in nature. I am interested in the large marks made by humans as interactions with our surroundings. This includes tracks, prints, and marks that we make as creatures. This also includes the natural elements, such as wind and water, that overtime alter the state of the world. It is easier to observe these patterns from above. I am inspired by the work of Yann Arthus-Bertrand and David Burdeny. In their photographs, they discover unexpected and ordinary natural and man made patterns on the Earth’s surface, and through their photos, turn them into extraordinary and sublime. 

Using mark making techniques, I draw on my memories to create place. I see my painting as a way of visual storytelling. My paintings are my personal non-linear autobiographies. They are like maps of the history of my world -- a collection of colourful memories and marks that signify where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, and possibly how I got to where I am today. I want to create something that is familiar, but somewhat ambiguous. I am interested in the slightly mystic and abstract, which allows the viewer to make their own assumptions and relay some of their connotations, and their own history into the artwork.