Saturday, February 19, 2011

Close to Home

Sara Post, Redwoods, ©2011, oil & cold wax
Last week I had the occasion to attend an opening for an artist friend whom I've mentioned frequently in this blog, Sara Post. Sara's exhibit, Close to Home, was up and ready to see in our local Davis, CA gallery, the Artery.

I had a particular curiosity about this exhibit because Sara had confessed to me over coffee several weeks back that she had one month to come up with the artwork for this show. When she told me this, I knew for a certainty that she would take the proverbial tube of paint and run. And run with it she did.

A couple of weeks later, I stopped by her house to drop off a book. When I walked into her studio, work was spread over the tables, hanging on the walls and arranged on the floor. Joyful abandon reigned supreme.

Sara Post, Sprinklers, ©2011, monotype

I'm fascinated by how specific conditions such as an imminent deadline can elicit completely different creative responses in people. Sara decided to look no further than her own backyard for inspiration.

A wise choice judging by the results.  Sara honors the beauty of houses and gardens and the fascination that we bring to them. It's as if she's taken a magnifying glass to the world outdoors; exploring walls, windows, doors and rooftops; the spaces they create and the landscape they define.

Her work places itself in a tradition of modern landscape painters such as David Hockney and Cy Twombly.
Cy Twombly. Untitled (detail), ©2007

As I gazed at the pieces I found myself drifting into an imaginary back yard where pools of deep turquoise water drifted in and out of focus and grasses blew in the wind, waving their tips of gentle gold.

I crisscrossed the gallery, picking up one observation here and dropping another there,  imagining the possibilities that my own back yard might offer.

Sara Post, Flags, ©2011, monoprint
If, as Voltaire says in his novel Candide, "we must cultivate our own garden," this exhibit invites us to explore the abundant possibilities which may lie therein.


  1. What a fun show that must have been. It is especially sweet to see a friend's art in a gallery. Thank you Hannah for showing this to us. There is certainly some Hockney and Twombly going around in this sense of joy. Must get to my garden:)

  2. Beth: its true--what I was trying to convey was the richness that is possible by attending to one's own ground, so to speak.

    Why thank you Dianna!

  3. Lovely work! I'm drawn to the last one in particular. "We must cultivate our own garden" .... a thought I will keep with me all week. As Autumn is drawing nearer I'm preparing myself for hard work in the studio. Summer is a slowing down for me since it is just too hot for comfort.

  4. Beautifully written,Hannah. Wish I could see these pieces in person.

  5. Our summers, like yours Robyn, are long and hot making me long for autumn and better studio days. We are in the midst of our winter rains--good for tending the "studio garden," not so great for the out of doors!

    Patty, thank you for stopping by. I wish we could transport Sara's work so that you could see. The textures are wonderful.

  6. Sara is a very fortunate soul to have such a sensitive (that would be you) view and review her spontaneous and joyful has to be a jazzed exhibition...thanks for sharing her wonderful work.
    Your words make the looking all the more how that works.

  7. Thank you Laura.

    Donna--thank you--being able to see Sara's process made the art work that much more vivid for me--and reflecting on it, a fun challenge.

  8. I love seeing what a tight deadline inspires. At the same time it is so easy to overlook the beauty that is right in front of us. Sara took what she had available and created fantastic work. Thanks for sharing this!