Sarah Delaney x RVCA

Exhibit hosted by RVCA, held at THE PLAYGROUND
434 Columbia Street, Vancouver, BC

April 26, 2018


Over the past couple of years I have been making art and consequently writing about it. Focus on the what and the how mostly.  My work is my version and response to what I’ve explored and experienced. My work generally begin with a geographical location that springboards a series of feelings and patterns. A pile of actions, noises, and movements transcribed into heavy and soft lines and light and heavy washes, layered together on a canvas. Most vaguely described as painting landscapes, I use overlapping colours, patterns, and textures to tell the story of PLACE. 


Last month I was in LA and visited the art shop at MOCA. While browsing the books, somewhere between a book on Njideka Akunyili Crosbyan and Elizabeth Peyton, an overwhelmed manic version of myself broke down in tears. A wave of passion, grounded in appreciation, was washed over me. It is powerful to observe the history of art, but for me it is especially surreal to be surrounded by the contemporary art that is being produced right now — to reflect on where we are today, what themes are being explored, what styles are being developing, and maybe even imagine where I might fit in. 

That afternoon I noticed some of the street banners were advertising the Jasper Johns exhibit happening at The Broad. Beside the cropped image read ‘Something Resembling Truth’. I haven’t been able to shake those words since. I like to think that much of what I am striving to create is also something that resembles truth. In the highly subjective, abstract world, Jasper Johns and I are creating the same thing and the idea shakes me to the core. 


Days later, back in my Vancouver studio, my mind kept coming back to the Jasper Johns poster. Those words have been a constant reminder to be honest with myself. To try my best to create work that is pure, to reflect the human experience, to question what is my truth? These intensions came in the midst of a high stress, anxiety-packed week. And with an open mind, this is when I came to learn something new about myself and that is this: I am fuelled by two things : 1. the love for the process. 2. The guilt-ridden voice inside me saying if I stop, I fail. In the spirit of honesty, I listened to my body, and instead of denying that the anxiety existed, I gave myself a distraction by intentionally focusing on the process. I drifted a lot (my guilt voice has a strong pull), but acknowledging it made me stronger, and staying true to the complexity of the human condition, I am choosing to share it, rather than suppress its reality. 


I began working on this new series of paintings, unsure what they were going to say, or what landscape they might be about. I just began working. It wasn’t until I was two paintings in that I realized that I was finding the painting through the act of making it — not revolutionary at all, but a fundamental theme in much of modern painting. I’ve been making art for all my life so I was not surprised to find that the strokes and marks I put on the canvas are just as much a part of me, as they are representations of what feelings and landmarks I am trying to portray. These paintings were less about a geographical place and more about my place. My place in the world, my emotional state, my physical placement to the canvas, my perspective of the world, my position on abstract art, my standing in my search for truth. 


I am using this body of work to further explore my ideas and my aesthetic — less emphasis given to location, but more on the process of creating abstract work.


Event photos by Stephanie Cizmar for RVCA Canada