Sarah Harvey

Preview: 6.00-8.00pm Thursday 4 October Continues until Saturday 13 October 2007

Oisín Gallery is proud to launch a Dublin debut solo-exhibition of new works by a highly accomplished and exciting new London-based talent. Sarah Harvey's underwater figurative paintings are the result of a curious combination of imagination, innovation and peculiarity. Her main sources of reference are photographs of herself, partially or totally submerged in water. She then pieces fragments of these images together, manipulating and accentuating perspectives and distortions before translating onto large-scale canvases.

Harvey graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Fine Art from Newcastle University after completing a BTEC Diploma Art Foundation Course at Chelsea College in 2000. She has since exhibited her work in London, Australia, Barbados, Malta, France and the United States. She has also won many awards for her work, most recently securing second place in launch of a new award for a first-time exhibitor, entitled the Insight Investment Newcomer’s Prize in this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London. The prize celebrates the visual arts by developing a lasting legacy for young and emerging artists in the UK working in any discipline. Sarah’s painting ‘Clam’ was included in the shortlist of just 20 works selected by a panel of three judges who included Anthony Green RA, Charles Farquharson and Marylane Barfield PRBSA. Working in collaboration with BBC2 and Insight Investment, the winner was determined by a public vote and announced during a live broadcast on BBC2.


Artist's Statement:


I aim to create paintings that arouse both a sense of well being and pleasure, whilst simultaneously suggesting notions of insecurity, fantasy and sexuality.

Entirely suspended by the water, the human forms are fragmented by the ripples and swirls created by the water, abstracting them, and often with implausible results such as the appearance of disfiguration or distortion. I have become increasingly excited about the abstract elements in these works, and the interplay between light, colour and water. The emerging patterns are becoming more apparent and dominant, drawing the eye not only towards the main focal point of the human form, but also to the surrounding areas, which are of equal significance.


About the Artist: 


Sarah Harvey won the Bartlett Travel Scholarship whilst studying at Newcastle University. She subsequently visited Florence and the surrounding areas of Tuscany, and it was during this trip she happened upon a green swimming pool that has inspired much of her work to date. This latest collection derives from recent travels to Australia and India.

The symbolism of water and swimming is well-worn territory, signifying transformation, rebirth, and tranquillity; but Harvey creates narrative paintings that float between introspection and escapism, and remind us of the power lakes, pools, and oceans have over our imaginations. Her explorations into this theme have offered a wealth of inspiration and provided a motif that is at the same time natural and at her own command. Predominantly working from photographs of herself, partially or totally submerged in water, sections of images are often pieced together to further manipulate and accentuate perspectives and distortions before translating onto large-scale canvases. The artistic challenge presented by this subject is not only the representation of movement, colour and light but also the successful inclusion of the human figure altered by the distorting effects of water.

The work is without a horizon line, enabling Harvey to endow the work with a sense of immediacy, minimizing the illusion of depth and distance so that the surface of the canvas becomes a two-dimensional pattern and acquires a spatial continuity in which all parts of the composition are treated with equal importance. At their best, these underwater portraits vibrate with subtle gradations of light, colour, shade and movement, and areas of burnished, even colour simultaneously dramatizing the surface and bringing the whole into harmony.


Curriculum Vitae


Sarah Harvey, born London, 1981.

Studio - Bow Arts Trust, London.



Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree, Fine Art Painting,

Newcastle University, United Kingdom, 2004

BTEC Diploma Art Foundation Course, Chelsea College of

Art and Design, London, United Kingdom, 2000


Solo exhibitions

Underlying Current, Oisín Gallery, Dublin, 2007

Coming Up For Air, Sesame Gallery, London, 2006

Paul Gullotti Gallery, Perth - Australia, 2006


Selected group exhibitions


Beaux Arts Gallery, Bath


TIA Art Fair, Toronto, represented by Sarah Myerscough of London

Sarah Harvey & Miriam Jarrs, Sesame Gallery, London

Multicomplexificationalities, selected by Roy Exley, Nunnery Gallery, London

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London

Magnitude SEVEN, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio

Bow Arts Trust Open Studios, London

EAC, London

Battersea Affordable Art Fair, represented by Sesame Gallery, London


Summer Event Exhibition, Oisín Gallery, Dublin

Below the Radar, Mantra Art, London

Bow Arts Trust Open Studios, London

Gallery 47, Essex Art Club, London

Melbourne Art Fair, represented by Gullotti Galleries, Melbourne, Australia

Sydney Art Fair, represented by Gullotti Galleries, Sydney, Australia

Ninetythree Gallery, London

Normal Life Unlimited, London


Winter Show, Gallery 93, London

Mixed Show, August Gallery, Kent

In Search of Unseen Things, Sarah Harvey & Richard Somerville, Sesame Gallery, London

Art in Mind, La Viande Gallery, Hoxton, London

Mixed Show, Lacy Road Gallery, Putney, London

The Art of Love, The OXO Gallery, London


The Northern Graduates Show, Curwen Gallery, London

Modus Operandi, Curated and Exhibited, Globe Gallery, Newcastle

Exposure, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle



Insight Investment Newcomers Award, 2nd place, Royal Academy of London, 2007

Short listed for Celeste Art Prize, 2007

Grandprix Winner of Art Periscope Award, 1st prize, 2007

Ken Howard Award, selected by Ken Howard, 2007

The Bartlett Art Scholarship, Newcastle University, 2003


Corporate Collections

Sandy Lane Hotel - Barbados

BP Corporate Collection, London

London Institute of Arts, London



Time and Leisure Magazine, Front cover spread and feature, May 2007

Art Fairs International Vol.1 no 9/10, Image and feature, 2005

NY Arts Vol.10 no 9/10, Image and feature, 2005

Living North Magazine, 4 page Article, 'The Graduate', Sept 2004

Paintings in the exhibition