Sarah Elaine Quick

Burren College of Art Time, Space & Inspiration

Sarah Elaine Quick


My work is highly imagistic, combining realism with a strong painterly expressionism. I have a fascination with mythology and symbols and how we construct and confirm our collective and individual identities. With each new work I seek to create a dynamic statement utilizing the archetypal imagery that lies at the heart of who we are. Through a bold use of paint, the medium itself becomes a part of that statement. This allows me to draw on the rich history of oil painting, adding depth to each piece and creating a new and striking context for my subject matter.


Read Sarah's experience of her 4-month residency at BCA:

 There are only two things every artist unequivocally needs in the pursuit of art making: time and space. No matter the mediums used or the form the art takes, once out of art school these two things become the most valuable, sought after, and elusive assets an artist can have. In fact, the longer one spends fighting for such time and space, the more one begins to fantasize about the extraordinary places where time and space might be had. And so it was that my imagination brought me to the Burren in early June.
 I had expected it to be remote and I had known it would be rocky, yet I was astonished by the profound stillness of the stones that seemed to anchor a restless expanse of water and sky. Like most first time visitors, I arrived to the college with a sense of awe and from there, set out to complete my largest body of work to date, a full 72 feet worth of painting. I came with a concept in my head of where I thought the work would go and how I would paint it. And, after settling into the studio of my dreams I began to do just that. I suppose the first painting of almost any body of work tends to only just conform to our ‘best laid plans’. So my first painting came out as an approximation of my original idea. That was fine with me, however, because I figured I had laid the groundwork for the direction the rest of the work would go. But what I hadn’t anticipated was the bustling, thriving art community that existed within the stillness of the Burren.
 My studio mate arrived one week after myself. She walked into the studio one morning with her large-format camera in tow and what can only be described as the oddest assortment of candy, memorabilia and assorted fruits. After initial introductions and casual conversations about our work, I felt a twinge of excitement and it didn’t take long before I was searching out odd shaped fruit and bizarre confections to share with her. From there the natural progression of things was for us to begin making work together: a collaboration that fused together two artists from completely opposite spectrums. The result was a mad collection of pieces that became almost an obsession between us, and a fun topic of conversation on campus. Every morning we arrived eager to discover what new direction our shared work would take us. I ended up making work I would never have imagined making, work that still brings a smile to my face.
 After a month, I found that my paintings were coming easier to me and there were different types of nuances and juxtapositions beginning to appear within the work. All summer long there was a constant buzz about the place, various artists and students continually arriving and leaving and both faculty and staff creating a core of support and ideas. I met more artists working in different types of media over the course of the summer than I had at any other time in my life, and my work continued to grow and shift. In the end it was the community that exists within the burren that brought me so much more than mere time and space.
 The exchange of ideas and collaboration between artists in a place that seems to be set apart from time created a new passion and excitement for art. I was continually inspired by the people I met and I felt challenged to push the boundaries of what art can be and how it can be shared. In the four months that I spent in the Burren, the 72 feet worth of painting flowed much easier than I had expected. The real challenge, as it turns out, and the most important question I take away with me from the Burren is, what’s next?