Sarah Graham: In the Hand of Buddha

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Christie’s Asia is delighted to announce the opening of an exhibition of new work by the British artist, Sarah Graham.  

Graham brings the natural world before us with a clear, unorthodox eye. Known for expressive, large scale ink drawings, the artist presents her individual vision of the beauty and strangeness of plant forms with a group of eight new paintings of lotus flowers. 

Although the works focus on a single plant species, Graham explores a series of different views to reveal an unexpected variety in these monumental compositions. The use of abstracted forms and enlarged scale paraphrase the natural world in a way that is both dramatic and surprising.  

Despite the horticultural subjects Graham insists that they are not botanical paintings but an expansive and personal interpretation of a particular flower. Absolute accuracy holds little appeal for the artist; she does not document nature but instead magnifies it into bold artistic forms punctuated by calligraphic brush-strokes using plant-based pigments.  ‘Too much dedication to the original source deadens it for me’, she says. ‘I am looking for an expression. I see a curve or a twist or a pronunciation of some form that I’ve somehow got to get into my studio and enlarge’.

Everything about Graham’s work is based in nature, from the subject matter to the inks themselves: compounds of plant-based dyes and iron-based mineral pigments sourced from a family of artisan colour alchemists in Basel, Switzerland. These organic inks produce livelier and more subtle tones than chemically derived colours. ‘I can’t paint in oils. My way of working is much more exact,’ says Graham, who applies the ink with animal hair Chinese brushes onto paper she places on the floor to control the flow of the ink. ‘Ink is a merciless medium. It cannot be removed. It dries in pools, and so mistakes and variations become part of the work.’

Nature requires no further manifesto or explanation. Her pictures are – in essence – about wonder and strange pleasures engaging both the eye and mind.

Graham was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1973. Between 1992 and 1996 she completed a joint Master’s degree at The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art in History of Art and Fine Art.

Natural forms, insects and the plant world provide her main source of inspiration, either borrowed from London’s Natural History Museum or forming collections from her travels housed in the studio.

Graham lives and works in Chelsea, London and has successfully exhibited in London, New York and Aspen, Colorado. This is her first exhibition in Asia.


Viewing 
20–23 September, 10:00am – 6:00pm
OPEN TO PUBLIC

26–28 September, 10:00am – 6:00pm
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY


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