Degree: BA (hons) Fine Art: Painting
University: Wimbledon College of Arts
Graduation Year: 2019
Wimbledon trained artist, Sarah Isherwood, comes forth bearing embroidery threads, silk-screen printing and oils to explore the fragile world of memory, experience and prescription medication.
Crafted on silk and muslin, Isherwood uses a range of materials - paint, thread, charcoal, and even vegetable oil - which she uses to leave deliberate stains - marks on her work, to reference the figurative ‘stain’ left behind from prescription medication. Sertraline - (trade name Zoloft) is the most commonly prescribed mood stabiliser in the UK and is distributed to patients in a yellow, turquoise, and white box. We find this motif referenced throughout Isherwood’s work, together with her emotive, more visceral oil stains and charcoal marks which propose a counterpoint to the surface treatment. Poignant, powerful and slightly unnerving, her work describes a true and terrible beauty, these are real and raw - a new perspective.
Gestural mark-making acts as a direct method of conveying an impulsive reaction to memories and intrusive thoughts. These often appear in the form of writing but are distorted, covered up and made illegible - which brings to question why my reaction is to cover, hide and erase.
The addition of medicine into the work explores the contrast between the idea of a substance being able to control an unstable mindset and the reality of being on the medication. This is represented through the more graphic marks made by screen-printing and embroidery. Graphic patterns and bright colours found from the commercial boxes of the anti-depressant Sertraline became a key motif.
Oil stains within the work reference the figurative ‘stain’ left behind from medicine; the potentially very negative side effects. The idea that the introduction of the pill to the user should bring stability allows for the stain to be embellished and appear more attractive. The oil adds layers and depth to the surface whilst still maintaining many of the original qualities of the canvas. But this ever-present and irremovable oil stain represent to the viewer the concept of the long-lasting impact which medication can have on a person.
2019, For Love or Money, Copeland Gallery, London
2019, WCA Degree Show, Wimbledon College of Arts, London
2018, This Is Now, Now Was Then, Art Hub Gallery, London
2018, Prunella Clough Prize at Wimbledon College of Arts