Degree: BA (hons) Fine Art: Painting
University: Wimbledon College of Art
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.
My practice explores ideas of how we recall memories, whilst also looking at how factors such as prescription medication can alter our perception. Dealing with the subject matter of medication allows me to explore the contrast between the idea and the reality of being on medication. Imagery from pharmaceutical packaging, their design and the pills themselves often appear as motifs.
Gestural mark-making acts as a direct method of conveying my reaction to memories and intrusive thoughts. These often appear in the form of writing but are distorted, covered up and made illegible. These gestural marks contrast with the more ‘mechanical’ nature of screen printing and sewing which together introduce an element of repetition similar to that of mass-manufactured medication. Oil stains within the work reference the figurative ‘stain’ left behind from medicine. This ever-present and irremovable oil stain represents to the viewer the long-lasting impact which medication can have on a person.
I have recently begun to incorporate more figurative elements into my paintings. Exploring the relationship that mark-making, distortion and texture can have alongside more recognisable imagery.
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