Sarah Mufford One Between Two August 2015 1st Avenue Gallery Installation Sarah Mufford One Between Two August 2015 Exhibition Opening

One Between Two Review by Ray Rixon

As we enter the gallery the continuous, narrow line of colourful art that links all walls, makes its initial impact. This is maximum drama from minimalist simplicity. The works are all the same size, float mounted and framed in white, resulting in a radiant freshness and expansiveness. Each painting, in the manner of its creation as well as curation is the embodiment of 'one between two', as it is clearly connected to the works on either side.

Sarah Mufford One Between Two I 2015 Watercolour and pigmented ink on paper 280 x 260 mm
Sarah Mufford Bloom 2015 Watercolour and pigmented ink on paper 280 x 260 mm

While each work is an individual statement, there are some familiar elements that are repeated in profuse variation - the underlying stylised four-leaf grid for example. This appears to be mechanically produced - belying the concentrated discipline required for the diligent, hand painting process that creates the illusion of a print. Closer observation of each work reveals tiny, painstakingly created details, a foil for the fusion of delicate, colourful watercolour stains that are enhanced by the texture of the paper surface that supports them. My initial viewing of the works convinced me that the grid was printed, much to Sarah's delight.

Sarah Mufford Lime 2015 Watercolour and pigmented ink on paper 280 x 260 mm
Sarah Mufford Annunciation 2015 Watercolour and pigmented ink on paper 280 x 260 mm

Each painting references the backgrounds, especially foliage, evident in Italian Pre-Renaissance Art and Indian Miniature Painting. (As an aside, the concept of 'One Between Two' is a design device utilised in Indian Miniature Painting). Fragments of plant life or atomic particles (scale is ambiguous) drift across the nuanced colour fields in each work. Along with the exploitation of the unique properties of each medium, Sarah capitalises on 'happy accidents' in the development of images. She is passionate in her belief that paintings should be about the process of painting, and not solely as a vehicle for narrative.

In 'Bloom III', she scatters the delicate, finely wrought details of seedpods (or microscopic crystalline formations - you decide) in controlled abandon across the asymmetrical, loose cruciform design that's anchored by the ever-present, four-leaf grid.

Sarah Mufford Bloom III 2015 Watercolour and pigmented ink on paper 280 x 260 mm
Sarah Mufford Aqua Alta 2015 Watercolour and pigmented ink on paper 280 x 260 mm
Sarah Mufford One Between Two August 2015 Exhibition Opening

The grid connects the transparency, exuberance and beautiful colour relationships - pale orange creates a gentle vertical path between arms of purer orange while tinges of purple, red and contrasting blue compliment the dominant orange. There's also sheer vibrancy created by the juxtaposition of the 'abstract expressionist stain with the tight pedantic grid'.

Even though colours, shapes and open compositions recur regularly, there is an abundance of visual variety. At times, the ethereal, soft-edged flow of the exhibition is punctuated by work of a stronger colour and shape. 'Lime' is a perfect example of this kind of theatre, with a dark blue stain that seeps through a vertical fusion of pale blue and red, underneath concentric broken arcs of hard-edged lime.

Sarah Mufford Pentimenti II 2015 Watercolour and pigmented ink on paper 280 x 260 mm
Sarah Mufford Subasio 2015 Watercolour and pigmented ink on paper 280 x 260 mm

This positional device ensures that the viewer's awareness remains active, not seduced by the beauty of the works. The bolder images are more assertive, but in keeping with the whole exhibition, no didactic decisions are provided, allowing us the freedom to utilise our imaginative processes to reach a personal end point.

For the enquiring viewer 'One Between Two' provides abundant rewards from Sarah's rich tapestry of life, influences and worldly experiences. The works displayed have been chosen as examples that best exemplify Sarah's practice of infusing her work with 'Head and Heart', in which she strives for a dynamic balance of looseness tempered by control; exuberance grounded by structure. 'One Between Two' perpetuates the unbroken thread of Sarah's artistic evolution.

Sarah Mufford One Between Two August 2015 Exhibition Opening