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Sarah Posey

19″ x 13.5″

Sarah Posey Fine Art

Clara Lieu, RISD Adjunct Professor

Clara Lieu

Art Prof & Partner

Casey Roonan, Comics Artist & Cartoonist

Casey Roonan

Cartoonist & Comics Artist

Deepti Menon, Filmmaker & Animator

Deepti Menon

Filmmaker & Animator

Artist Statement
“In the broad sense, this painting is about feeling controlled by someone else, but being unable or unwilling to break away from that control.

The idea for this particular situation came from an experience I had last year with someone that I really hoped would love me too. I was stuck with the feelings that I had for her, but I was frustrated about it. I knew that I had to let it go but I couldn’t seem to. If I thought I had gotten rid of it, as soon as I saw her again they came back full force.

The veins and arteries attaching themselves to the bird figure are meant to signify this feeling of being controlled. The mask on the other figure symbolizes the hopes that I had had. The bird figure is trying to escape but is unable to. “

3 responses on "Group Art Critique: Sarah Posey"

  1. I am so mesmerized by the body language here, I feel like it’s really carrying the emotional impact of the piece to the point where you could get rid of almost everything else, and I could still sense the narrative in this image. The angle of the head, the hunched shoulders, the direct, powerful view of that bicep read almost like sentences. That’s a super skill you have, and I do think it would be worth stripping compositions down to character poses and doing a bunch of sketches, just to see how much you can get away with!

    All of the imagery and symbolism you’ve included also have strong associations, but because of this, you have to be really careful you’re using the right quantity of symbolism for the right reasons. It’s like putting salt in a recipe. A little salt can bring out all the other flavors beautifully, but a lot of salt drowns everything out. Hearts representing love or infatuation, and animal heads, specifically bird heads are universal images at this point. They’re generalized associations. Can you think of ways to visibly personalize these images? Love can be your heart, but it can also be a splay of freckles, a touch on the shoulder, an old book. Control can be veins, but it can also be a locked gaze, a compulsion, a forced absence.

    Discovering your own language for depicting things is a long and difficult task, and I admire your willingness to step up and try some things out. I hope you continue making work about your personal experiences, because it seems like a fruitful area for you!

  2. As the other critiques have mentioned, it’s very clear that there’s some deep emotion and thought that went into the making of this piece. In terms of body language I personally always look for ways to expand on how to make it more readable and more believable. One thing that never fails to consider is the eyes. There’s the old cliche that says “eyes are the window to the soul” but in a lot of ways this actually does have some validity. If the left figure is supposed to be feeling vulnerable, how can you show this by the eyes. Disney animated films are really good examples to look at especially considering most of their films have animals as their main characters. I would also consider showing how the heart wrapping around the figure is actually forcing/controlling her to the point where she is visibly and obviously uncomfortable.

    In terms of color I’m actually really liking the blue/green combination that you’re starting to get in the right figure’s arm. It’s complimentary to the red and beyond that, it gives a sense of chill and mystery. I think if you put in a bit more of that (or maybe use this green as an underlay) the piece would immediately grasp the warmth of the heart.

    Thank you for being so vulnerable in your art. As a fellow artist I know how challenging that can sometimes be. Keep painting!

  3. This is a really emotionally charged piece! Another artist friend and I were talking about how personal pieces can be kind of emotional journals, recording your feelings rather than the day-to-day.

    One thing about this piece is the body language — since these characters have inhuman faces, a lot is dependent on how the body is telling the story. For example, the figure on the right seems to be tormenting and intentionally attacking the figure on the left – but your artist statement says that the true antagonist was your emotional response, not external actions. I’d really be curious about how you’d convey that sense of internal pain in this fantastical style of yours!

    To look up some body poses to help convey the story better, I would look up recordings of stage actors – freeze frame on the actors, and sketch their poses with the emotions. Stage actors do such a good job at conveying emotion emphatically without being over dramatic and that would give you some more exciting poses to convey your message!

    I would play around with this to build concept for future pieces as well: what would be amazing is to explore through sketches what this piece would look like told from the point of view of the other figure! Exercises like that are great tools I use all the time to flex my composition and concept muscles. Keep it up!

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