Sarah Blaustein: Central Feeling

July 13 - August 11, 2023
Known for her brightly hued, gesturally abstract compositions of acrylic and ink, Blaustein approaches her painterly practice as a meditative kind of ritual, initiated by filling a jug full of water. A conduit both for her pigments and pronouncements, water functions as a dynamic medium that the artist manipulates between sponge soaks and brush strokes, negotiating at each turn with its fluid and fugitive properties. Attuning to her canvases as if they are living, reacting entities, Blaustein maintains a sensibility to the here and now - watching, feeling, and charting her next move in the time it takes to refill her water jug.
This repetitive, back-and-forth outlines a choreographed mantra that allows Blaustein to focus in on the present moment. As she attempts to access and extemporize an inner, central feeling - a mode of expression in its purest form - she balances spontaneous free association with a mindful awareness akin to that of musical improvisation. What has become a distinct vocabulary of undulating holds and sweeps across her surfaces translate as rhythmic intonations. Her color choices and intensities of gradient offer melodic verse that crescendo as she delves deeper and deeper into self-reflection. Combining a nimbleness that harmonizes with her organic markings, and a judiciousness that underscores their expressive essentiality, Blaustein meets the challenge of working with permanent materials as they stain and set, leaving little room for error.
From the vessel carrying water, the body harboring feelings, and the canvas recording actions, this feedback loop generated between containers makes Blaustein’s paintings fundamentally performative. Here, a language of abstraction not only translates raw emotion often difficult to encapsulate in words, but in turn provides the mechanism through which to elicit an empathetic response.