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Sarah West is an artist whose work examines our persistent desire to be transported by visual means and explores ways the spiritual realm has been represented in the past and today. Her recent body of work aligns Early Renaissance painting compositions and digital spaces in their shared role as dream spaces/sites of spiritual quests. Mysterious codes, idealized forms, and narratives of progress cloud the digital landscape referenced, all pointing to deep human longings- for transcendence, transformation, and enlightenment. The resulting paintings evoke a divine encounter, reflecting on both the religious subject matter referenced in Renaissance sources and the mystical aura surrounding new technologies.
While each of West’s paintings are created through layers of oil paint, from afar they can often appear digital as they contain different types of spaces within the same composition and are executed with different painting “languages”. By depicting rendered figurative spaces alongside abstracted forms, the paintings point to the moment when flat abstraction transforms and is activated- be it by optical illusion, imagination or divine force. Throughout the paintings in Circuit, transitional moments are highlighted-between abstraction and illusion; between touch and response; between dying plants and living waters. These moments of tension and blurred boundaries serve to underscore the thin divide between the material and spiritual realms.
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