SARAH BALL (B. 1965)
SARAH BALL (B. 1965)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION
SARAH BALL (B. 1965)


SARAH BALL (B. 1965)
signed and dated ‘Sarah Ball 2017’ (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
39 3/8 x 39 3/8in. (100 x 100cm.)
Painted in 2017
Anima Mundi Gallery, Cornwall.
Private Collection.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2018.
St. Ives, Anima Mundi Gallery, Sarah Ball: Bertillon, 2017 (illustrated in colour, p. 23).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

Painted in 2017, AC15 is a compelling work from Sarah Ball’s enigmatic portrait practice. Based on a police archive mugshot, the painting depicts a young woman dressed in a white top and patterned headscarf, staring out directly at her viewer with an empty, inscrutable gaze. Anonymous yet intimate, and rendered in meticulous detail, Ball’s portrait is distinctively timeless, a quality heightened by her refusal to award any sense of narrative to her work. Set against a characteristically empty background, Ball’s sitter is rendered in sharp, intense chiaroscuro, a technique which illuminates her features, subtly drawing our attention to the bridge of her nose, the glow of her lips, and the glare of her eyes. The closely cropped composition lends the work a confrontational quality, highlighting Ball’s attention to the psyche of her sitter, and supporting her quest ‘to reveal the human person in the present’ (S. Ball, quoted in C. Ashby, ‘Payback or Pleasure?’, Elephant, 17 August 2020).

AC15 belongs to a series of portraits that Ball created in 2017, in which she took archival documentary photography, police mug shots and governmental identity cards as her starting point. Here, Ball’s aim was to take that decisive moment, that fraction of a second in which the individual is recorded in front of the camera lens, and visually liberate them, presenting them in their most honest, intimate state. In AC15, Ball’s protagonist is animated by her brush, enlivened by each carefully layered stroke of oil. Speaking of the series, Ball has stated ‘I am interested in this act of translation; from the apparent certainty of this photographic record and official labelling to the malleable quality of paint, my work calls into question history, memory and story but also perception’ (S. Ball, quoted in Sarah Ball: Bertillon, exh. cat. Anima-Mundi, St. Ives 2017, p. 1).

Since studying at Newport Art College in the 1980s and earning her MFA at Bath Spa University in 2005, Ball has participated in a number of significant exhibitions at leading national and international museums, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Kunstmuseum Bonn and the Xiao Museum of Contemporary Art, Rizhao City. In 2014, she was shortlisted for the Threadneedle Prize for Painting and Sculpture, and has also participated numerous times in the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. Her work is included in the permanent collections of many significant institutions across the globe, including The British Museum, London, the Grace Museum, Albilene and the Long Museum, Shanghai.

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