Sarah Pickstone

18 December 2013

The Mercer Art Gallery

Sarah Pickstone (b.1965, Manchester, UK) has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. She won the 2012 John Moores Painting Prize for her painting Stevie Smith and the Willow. Her paintings can be characterised by their lightness and openness and their fluid gesture and feminine pallet. She works in series, most recently
investigating the influence of memory, imagination and the natural landscape on female writers.

Pickstone’s ghostly images of Katherine Mansfield and Sylvia Plath depicted in the works selected for Mercer Art Gallery conjure up the sense of the writers’ work – Mansfield’s short stories and Plath’s poetry – along with the tragic brevity of both lives: Mansfield died of tuberculosis during the First World War aged 34 and Sylvia Plath killed herself in 1963 when she was 30. Stevie Smith, the focus of one of the drawings, illustrated her poems with little sketches that are echoed in Pickstone’s homage.

The Mercer’s collection is surprisingly strong on works by women artists such as Dame Laura Knight’s The Rehearsal from the 1930s and, more recently, work by Eileen Agar, Eileen Cooper, Tacita Dean, and Rose Garrard. Sarah Pickstone’s works will make a significant contribution to this expanding focus.

Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2014

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