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Sarah Pickstone

6 March 2013 By
Sarah Pickstone, ‘Stevie Smith and the Willow’ (detail), 2011, oil and enamel on panel, 230 x 200cm, ©the artist
Sarah Pickstone, ‘Stevie Smith and the Willow’ (detail), 2011, oil and enamel on panel, 230 x 200cm, ©the artist

As part of our continuing Artist to Watch series we are delighted to draw your attention to the work of British artist Sarah Pickstone.  Her mysterious and enigmatic large-scale painting Stevie Smith and the Willow, based on an illustration created by poet and novelist Stevie Smith to accompany her haunting poem Not Waving But Drowning (1957), won the John Moores Painting Prize last year.  Pickstone has a solo exhibition opening at the New Art Centre at Roche Court on 6 April 2013 where she will show a number of paintings from her series depicting famous female authors in a fictional parkland, inspired by Regent’s Park and the writers associated with it.

Pickstone’s paintings can be characterised by their lightness and openness and by their fluid gesture and feminine pallet. She works in series, most recently investigating the influence of memory, imagination and the natural landscape on writers such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Katherine Mansfield, Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf.  Her paintings allow psychological, historical and geographical space to flow into one another, sensitively and intuitively summoning a feeling of the experience of nature on the writer and evoking the sense that the world in the painting lies somewhere between our physical and more essential interior world.

Sarah Pickstone (born 1965, Manchester) lives and works in London.  Pickstone attained a post-graduate degree in Painting from the Royal Academy Schools London, 1988-1991. This followed a BA in Fine Art at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1983-1987.  Selected exhibitions include Let the World Slip Away, The Lion and Lamb N1, London (2012); John Moores Painting Prize 2012, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2012); Layers, John Moores Painting Prize show, Seongnam Art Centre, Korea (2010); Double Interview, group show, I-MYU Projects and Seoul art space, Seoul, Korea; Irony and Gesture, Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2008); Sarah and Simon, Platform, London (2006); Morpho Eugenia, Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Republicca di San Marino, Italy; Park Life, Clifford Chance, London (2005); John Moores 23, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; The Park, Platform, London (2004); Hortulus Animae, Eremo di S. Caterina, Isola d’Elba, Italy (2002).

Current and forthcoming exhibitions include New Works At the Walker, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2013) and New Work, New Art Centre, Roche Court, Wiltshire (2013).  Pickstone is the First Prize Winner of the 2012 John Moores Painting Prize and was also a John Moores runner-up prize-winner in 2004.  She has exhibited widely and has work in the Saatchi Collection, The Walker Art Gallery and The British School of Rome alongside many private collections.  In 1991 she was awarded a Rome Scholarship in Painting 1991-1992.  She works from her studio at Cubitt in central London.