Sarah Gamble

Philadelphia, PA | by April 13, 2012

Sarah Gam­ble, a Philadel­phia artist orig­i­nally from Char­lotte, NC, received her MFA from The Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia and was a Pew Fel­low in 2009. Her work has shown at (e)merge art fair in DC, Fleisher/​Ollman Gallery in Philadel­phia and PS122 and The Paint­ing Cen­ter in New York. She has also par­tic­i­pated in numer­ous res­i­den­cies includ­ing Bemis Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts and Atlantic Cen­ter for the Arts.

I vis­ited Sarah in her stu­dio: the spare bed­room of a South Philly row house. Two large win­dows fill the room with sun­light. In this mod­est space Sarah churns out a large vol­ume of paint­ings. One wall dis­plays the many pieces she cre­ated in the last two weeks—most are small pieces, around twelve by four­teen inches. She is inspired by this high level of pro­duc­tion by Gabriela Vainsencher, who makes a paint­ing every day before doing any­thing else.  Gabriela’s project and blog is called Morn­ing Draw­ing.

We talked about her recent enjoy­ment of Coast-​​to-​​Coast, a radio show deal­ing with UFO’s, strange occur­rences, life after death, and other unex­plained (or inex­plic­a­ble) phe­nom­ena. I quickly saw con­nec­tions between her work and the themes of the shows. For exam­ple, sev­eral of her paint­ings include faces with col­or­ful lines and dots pro­trud­ing which is her inter­pre­ta­tion of extrasen­sory per­cep­tion (ESP).  She was also keen to point out that her work is based on col­lec­tive life expe­ri­ences rather than one in particular.

Her cat Buster also seems to be a huge influ­ence on her work. Dur­ing my visit Buster ran through sev­eral times jump­ing on the desks in the room knock­ing over paint and mix­ing bowls. Sarah didn’t mind which seems to make Buster a per­fect stu­dio companion.

Sarah’s cur­rent color palette is a reac­tion to her feel­ing like her past work had every color avail­able. She now restricts the col­ors in the paint­ings by only putting a few on the table as she works. Black, greys, and browns dom­i­nate with bright col­ors such as orange, yel­low and green for high­lights. She also pur­pose­fully com­bines “clash­ing” col­ors to intro­duce con­trast in the paint­ings cre­at­ing an intrigu­ing effect in the work.

She has also recently started incor­po­rat­ing fig­u­ra­tion into her work. Until recently she only painted land­scapes, but felt the urge to dis­cover the inhab­i­tants of her mys­ti­cal worlds.

Although I have seen images of these land­scapes online I think a show of the col­lec­tive works is nec­es­sary. Find more of Sarah’s work at

This piece had edi­to­r­ial assis­tance from Tier­nan Alexander.

Video Edited by Raul Romero of See/​Saw Productions.

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