Sara Peak Convery

Sunday, August 9, 2015
2:00 PM 4:00 PM

Project 1612 has given me the opportunity to re-visit older work, re-create an environmental context for it and integrate it into my current practice. The installation includes previously created work: 3 prints from 1988 (see description below), an oil canvas from 2006/7, and part of a triptych from 2012. The canvas Sleepless is one of my rare attempts to paint from an idea without a visual source to reference. What A Piece of Work Is Man (2012) was visual amalgamation of 3 disparate photographic sources: a celebrity photo, a snapshot of my grandfather, and an advertisement.

I am an artist who has had a discontinuous practice. In my college years (1985-89), I produced a body of work (paintings and photography) that was primarily sourced from my home and family. Part way through, I made the decision to transfer from my comfortable state school to an art school on the east coast. Unwittingly, I set myself adrift artistically. My creative attachment to home proved much more difficult to overcome than I expected. I was left with my own body as my sole source of inspiration.

In the Winter-session (a short 6 week session between semesters) of 1988, I produced the most successful pieces of my entire year at the school. The class was called “The Big Woodcut”. I created 3-6’ x 4’ print series of 7. All were based on life size brush and ink self-portraits. Two were framed by my aunt, but most remained rolled up for the next 15 years or so. Two of those large scale prints (Tank and Untitled) were dismembered and incorporated into this installation. In 2012, after I had moved into my own studio space, I continued the process of revisiting old work. I liked paper dolls when I was child, and this prints yielded life size dolls for me to play with.

After college, I did not really paint for nearly 16 years. Though I went through a graduate degree program in photography, I created very little visual work. My thesis was primarily writing based. It was not until 2005 after my father died, that I re-visited my artwork stored in my parents’ attic. I began to paint again in the spring of 2006. At first I was afraid to use oils, which had been my primarily material. But through a combination of availability of canvases to paint over and materials, I returned to it after working in watercolor and ink for a period of time. My working method has shifted by necessity. I still do some self-portraits on occasion, but now I largely work from photographs. These can be family snapshots (both my own family and other found images) and also specifically from images I have taken and composed.

In 2014, I decided to make a concentrated effort to begin showing my work in earnest. I have found venues for many of my pieces, both new and old. Project 1612 has been a great opportunity to expand and experiment. —Sara Peak Convery

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