Who are we, really? Are we the smiling, outgoing version of ourselves, hanging out with friends? Are we our secretiveness, our generosity, our sadness, our inspiration? We are many--and sometimes none--of these things, at different times and sometimes at the same time. Artist Sarah Ammons uses expressive figurative painting to explore emotions and relationships, both with ourselves, with those around us, and within the world at large. The multiplied figures represent different emotions and ways of experiencing others, and also life in a more general sense, as we respond to things around us and ourselves.
Identity and multiplicity are addressed in her works, and especially in her more recent pieces she makes a decided turn toward dissecting the emotional range and impact of romantic relationships. She writes:
My interest lies in the bringing together and pulling apart - the creation and destruction of various identities - that takes place in romance. There is contradiction between the unity of romantic love and the solitary psychological existence of the individuals involved.
I like the emphasis on separation, or deconstruction in a sense, of feelings associated with relationships, because they are universally understood and yet so very personal. The way we feel about another can call into question our feelings and attitudes toward ourselves, which is one reason I think Ammons' emphasis on identity and 'pulling apart' is quite moving. All of the emotional pieces of our personalities that fit together to make us who we are, are presented like a continuous narrative. They're narratives in which Ammons allows a glimpse into the 'human struggle to love, be loved and maintain a sense of self.'
With a studio base in Toronto, Sarah is a recent graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute where she earned her MFA in painting. Starting July 1st she will be commencing a Graduate Fellowship at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA.
Check out her more work and news at her website: sarahammons.ca.