Intimacy of the human form: Artist Spotlight on Sarah Lorentz
Internationally recognized artist Sarah Lorentz creates energetic, striking compositions full of electric color and bold brushwork, a reminder of the process and the physicality of the material. The balance of realism and aesthetically satisfying abstraction provoking feelings of a specific place, often with a tone of nostalgia. Though the subject matter of her work ranges from evocative figurative commentaries to pastoral plein air landscapes, the physicality of material and deliberate remnants of the process reveal the same confident hand behind the brush.
Sarah’s academic training has been traditional with apprenticeships under successful artists including ceramicist Sandra McKinzie Schmitte and realist oil painter Bridham Dimick, as well as an extended study abroad in Florence, Italy. She earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with a focus in studio painting from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, receiving scholarships and awards both for her scholastic and artistic achievements.
Post graduation, Sarah’s love for her city and entrepreneurial spirit lead her to establish a business, Candlelight Home Portraits, celebrating the culture and history of Saint Louis, Missouri through architectural portraits. The business also encompasses the ‘Neighborhoods Project,’ an undertaking to create custom art prints for all 79 neighborhoods in Saint Louis, researching the history and local landmarks that make each neighborhood unique and valuable.
In the fine arts sphere, Sarah has received recognition on both a national and global level. Her work has been displayed in the Springfield Art Museum, Missouri, and abroad in Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello, Venice, Italy, and both her landscape and figurative collections have been granted solo exhibitions. In addition to juried shows and exhibitions, Sarah has kept an active presence through her work as a gallery artist instructor, leading classes in plein air landscape painting, and juring art competitions.
My work relies on the innate intimacy of the human form as a channel for projection. In combining figures from disparate source material in unusual interactions, I provoke the human urge to reconcile new experiences within previously formed frameworks of understanding.
My entry into motherhood brought new perspectives on these relationships, especially as I consider my depictions of children. I reflect on my own pivotal moments that hinged on the brink of trauma and on my role as a mother with absolute responsibility for my son’s experiences. The ambiguity of the compositions also simulates trauma recognition training, providing subtle relational and environmental indicators requiring similar interpretation to a child’s indirect description of experiences.
Equally important to the content is the materiality of the painted surface. Continually adjusting the balance of representationalism and aesthetically satisfying geometric simplification provides a challenge that sustains my creative engagement with the process while enhancing the usefulness of these paintings as tools for projection. Leaving intentional informational gaps prompts the subconscious, automatic response to fill in details, allowing viewers to more easily engage in supplying narrative.
My paintings operate as a set rather than as individual artworks, like flashcards in a psychological projection test, with related themes emerging as images are viewed in succession. I am excited by the potential of this work to elicit a wide range of responses; the work is intrinsically neutral, yet transforms into extreme positive or negative depictions based on the viewer-projected narrative. My compulsion in creating this work is to tap into the inner psyche, triggering empathetic responses that reconcile past experiences. I am invested in exploring variations of this work to function as specialized projection tests, each set exploring specific traumas and social impacts. Ultimately, it is the potential for vulnerability, human connection, and healing that drives my work.
Sarah’s creative process
My paintings always start as a collage of reference material–sometimes physical photographs, sometimes digital drawing and photo manipulation. I see this stage as a sort of visual and psychological puzzle where I can try out many combinations of figures while waiting for the pieces to ‘click’. I am looking for an interaction that is essentially neutral, but has multiple possible narratives, both positive and negative.
Often before I begin painting I prepare my painting surface with tinted gesso. I’ve found that a hot pink ground is helpful in providing a warm flesh tone to my figures and pushing my colors toward a higher chroma that is my preference. I try to paint my figures as though I were working on a plein air landscape, keeping my sketching and brushwork fairly loose and expressive. My goal is to balance
Recent work on Natalie’s #Heartlist
Mark Tennant (IG @marktennantart)
Juan Ruiz (IG @jvan_rviz)
Caitlin Winner (IG: @caitlinwinner_studio):
Ivan Floro (IG: @van_vuu)
Wylee Risso (IG: @wyleerisso)
Bernadett Timko (IG: @bernadett_timko_artist)
Elisa Capdevila (IG: @elisacapdevila)
I also follow many plein air and landscape artists who have a fabulous sense of color and space, a few favorites:
Thomas Paquette (IG: @paquette.studio)
Josh Clare (IG: @jclareart)
Abraham Storer (IG: @abestorer)
Find Natalie on:
INTERNATIONAL CALL FOR MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS
A collaboration between @artstoheartsproject & @ilikeyourwork
Guest curator: @erika , Founder of @ilikeyourwork
Eligibility: Mixed media artists from around the world
Deadline: 30th of October, 2021 12 midnight EST