Approved: 09.09.2016

Sarah Poland


Approved: 09.09.2016

'Despite the poetry of her titling, these are not narrative paintings in any real sense until you understand the language of her painting, and it is your possible understanding of that language’s poetry that these paintings celebrate.'     Richard Blackborow, Belgrave Gallery St. Ives.

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      Artist Statement

      'Despite the poetry of her titling, these are not narrative paintings in any real sense until you understand the language of her painting, and it is your possible understanding of that language’s poetry that these paintings celebrate.'     Richard Blackborow, Belgrave Gallery St. Ives.

      'One of the strongest works exhibited by a Cornish gallery had to be the rugged scene in oil entitled 'Mountain Pass' by Sarah Poland. There is something of the wrestled drawing process of Bomberg or Kossoff in her landscape paintings which arrests the eye and brings you back time and again to the best of her pictures.'   Henry Garfit, Artist and Founder of Newlyn School of Art - reviewing the London Art Fair and also on


      Recent work, including the 2016 exhibition The Intimacy Of Liminal Spaces shown at Belgrave St. Ives, Cornwall, is a series of painting, lithography, drawing and photography. It started in 2011, and includes five years of living off-grid in an eighty-acre Welsh oak woodland. A totally immersive experience,  living with the landscape.

      Initially, I thought that the series would be about the woodland itself, but eventually, it evolved into being more about transformation, inspired specifically by an experience of bathing. The woodland bath is to be found at the bottom of the valley where the oak stand tall and the beech magnificent - I’m not sure whether the trees were dancing, making music or practising calligraphy but these observations also help to inform my work. From the north running river water is collected and wood is gathered to light a fire underneath the cast iron bath.

      It is a beautiful setting; trees towering, river babbling, steam rising, birdsong, or if at night, stars twinkling. The Milkyway wondrously sweeps overhead. It is truly Romantic, immersed as one is, beholden to and a part of nature. One cannot help but follow the path of smoke, steam and one's thoughts out of the woodland and beyond, while at the same time being aware of one's physical state of being naked, outdoors in a steaming bath, a rawness firmly rooted in the physical. 

      I paint about my particular human experience and believe that nature and landscape can be a metaphor for this and can help to create depth of perception rather than an illusion. We share a liminal existence: occupying a position at, or on both sides of a boundary or threshold. Experiences offer many thresholds between the physical and transcendental, thought and realisation, present, future, past. I am intrigued by the idea that opposites are always present and I attempt to paint contradictions of personality and situation. I am interested in differences of rhythm, tempo and repetition, and how they produce irregularity in marks, layers; also colours and their inherent instability. All these contradict the inherent flatness of paintings. 

      As a way of working through ideas I make studies in series. Although I don’t work directly from these studies they are part of an ‘immersion in practice’, a constant improvisation with visual language, working ‘in the moment’ where the physical act of making is, in part, an ontological process. The work is very much about the materiality of paint and the act of painting. I believe that one of the things that make painting distinctive is how the perception of time is evaluated: its histories can be visible and at the same time all are firmly in the present. In painting I want something of the immediacy of drawing: its explosiveness, brevity, rawness and also a type of mark-making that is not consciously directed and informs both the beginning and the final stages of making an image. 

      Paintings can be weighty, at the same time possessed with a lightness of spirit – both of which are inescapably a part of nature. I seek to explore the possibilities and impossibilities of expressing these liminal moments in paint. 


      CV & Education

      Born: Inverness 1974

      Studied: BA(Hons) Edinburgh College of Art, 1997

      MFA Aberystwyth School of Art, 2015 - dictinction!


      Cill Rialaig Project, Artist Residency, Co. Kerry 2007

      Wasps Studios, Artist Residency, Shetland 2006


      Moved to Wales 2010

      Moved to Cornwall 2001

      Nomadic Studio, Highland Scotland 2010


      Solo Exhibitions:

      2016    The Intimacy Of Liminal Spaces, Belgrave Gallery, St. Ives

      2010    Flower Remedies - Belgrave Gallery, St. Ives

      2008    Either Side Of The Night - Belgrave Gallery, St. Ives

      2006    Tuath – Paintings - Belgrave Gallery, St. Ives


      Public Collections:

      Victoria & Albert Museum Prints Collections, London

      Aberystwyth School of Art Collections, Wales

      Hong Kong Arts Centre

      University of Arizona Museum of Art



      2016 Golwg magazine  
      2012 Collaborations: Aberystwyth Paper Press Print

      2008 RevolverArt Cornwall

      2007 St. Ives 1975-2005 Art Colony In Transition – Peter Davies

      2006 Art About St. Ives - Henry Gilbert, 2nd edition

      2004 Guardian Supplement 'Living On The Edge'


      Selected Mixed Exhibitions:


      Gallery Ten - Cardiff Focus On Abstraction and Summer show

      Belgrave St. Ives - Cornwall

      Mid Wales Arts Centre - Aberystwyth Printmakers

      Cardiff MADE 



      Summer, Gallery Ten, Cardiff

      Belgrave St. Ives Summer Exhibition 

      Atkinson Gallery, Somerset - MA and Post-graduate show 



      Language and the Future, Xiaoxiang Portfolio, China

      Oriel Q Summer Open

      Belgrave St. Ives Summer Show

      MFA Exhibition Aberystwyth School of Art, Wales

      Royal Cambrian Academy Print Show, Wales

      Student show, Changsha, China



      Belgrave St. Ives Christmas Exhibition

      MOMA Wales – Printmakers Exhibition

      'Birds Of A Feather', Belgrave St. Ives, Cornwall

      Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth

      Gas Gallery, Aberystwyth – Print show

      Courtyard, Hereford, with Aberystwyth Printmakers



      Hong Kong Graphic Arts Fiesta

      IMPRESS'13 International Printmaking Festival, Stroud, Cheltenham and the Cotswolds

      'Yuletide', Belgrave St. Ives, , Cornwall

      CONTEMPORARY ART Summer Exhibition, Belgrave St. Ives, , Cornwall



      MOMA Wales Competition Exhibition - award 'highly commended'

      National Eisteddfod - Y Lle Print / The Original Print Place

      and touring exhibition: Oriel Canfas Cardiff, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd (Hostpital)

      Bodelwydden, Oriel Glan y Menai Llanfair PG Anglesey

      Aberystwyth Printmakers Summer Show, Maesmawr, Mid Wales Arts Centre

      School of Art Gallery print exhibition, Wales

      West Wales Arts Centre Summer Show

      Belgrave St. Ives Summer Show, Cornwall



      Uncharted Landscapes, NSA, St. Ives Society of Artists, Cornwall

      PRINT!, The Exchange, Penzance, Cornwall

      Summer Waves, Belgrave St. Ives, Cornwall



      'Book Art' Ways With Words Literature Festival, Dartington Hall

      West Wales Arts Centre, Fishguard

      Summer Exhibition – Whitespace, Totnes

      Print - Belgrave Gallery, St. Ives, Cornwall

      London Art Fair, Belgrave Gallery



      'A Cornish Perspective' NSA at the RWA, Bristol

      London Art Fair, Belgrave Gallery

      Exchange Gallery / Newlyn Gallery, Cornwall

      NSA – 'Three Galleries', Cornwall

      Whitespace Christmas Show, Totnes

      'Off The Peg' – Printmaking Exhibition, Dartington



      London Art Fair, Belgrave Gallery

      Whitespace, Totnes

      2nd X-posure - 'Revolver', ex-car showroom, Penzance

      NSA 'Lineage', Penlee House Museum and Newlyn Art Gallery

      St. Ives – Selected Artists, to coincide with the book launch ‘St. Ives 1975-2005 Art

      Colony In Transition’, Belgrave Gallery

      Whitespace, Totnes

      'Spontaneous Combustion ii' St. Ives, Cornwall

      'St. Ives Past and Present' Sherborne House, Dorset

      NSA 'New Members', Newlyn Gallery, Cornwall

      Whitespace, Totnes

      London Art Fair, Edgarmodern

      '29-92' (Four person show) Belgrave Gallery, St. Ives, Cornwall

      St. Ives 'The Next Wave', Hutson Gallery, London

      'St. Ives Works', Atelier Gallery, Essex

      'Porthmeor', Belgrave Gallery, Cornwall

      'Christmas show' Edgarmodern, Bath

      'ID' N.S.A. members exhibition, Newlyn Gallery, Cornwall

      'View of St. Ives', Belgrave Gallery, Cornwall

      Collyer-Bristow Gallery, Holborn, London

      West Wales Arts Centre, Fishguard