Sarah Ann Weber:
The first green light of the sun
12.26 is pleased to present The first green light of the sun, an exhibition of new works by Los Angeles-based artist, Sarah Ann Weber. This is Weber’s first solo exhibition with 12.26.
Titled after the “green flash” – a rare, but naturally-occurring phenomenon in which a distinct green spot is briefly visible above the horizon at sunrise or sunset, this fantastical occurrence in nature parallels Weber’s landscapes. While grounded in abstraction, Weber draws upon her personal observations of the natural world, imbuing reality with metaphysical meaning. With this body of work Weber asks the viewer to confront the mysteries of the natural world, guiding the viewer on a pastoral journey to the very horizon line of perception and back again.
Weber’s work transports the viewer to a vibrant oasis where both growth and entropy, as well as figure and ground intertwine. Having played with human forms in the past, Weber now reduces her figures in the three large panels on display to their simplest essence: literal skeletons. With postures lifted from classical paintings of drowned Ophelia, Weber not only comments on the feminine experience, she also reminds us of an important quality of what it means to be a human: an inevitable return to the earth that greets us all at the end of life. The horizontally prone figures echo the sprawling, seemingly infinite nature of Texas landscapes, a geographic quality that influences the entire body of work. The looming, ever-present horizon line in the vast desert plains is found reaching across the four works on paper, offering a connective thread and providing the viewer with the expansive sensation one might experience when standing on the edge of far-reaching West Texas terrain.
Weber’s vision evokes certain post-apocalyptic iconography, and yet hers is far from dreary in its depiction of the earth. If anything, her vibrant chromatic expressions betrays a sense of ecstatic celebration. Neon florals rest within and between a collar bone, protruding vines lace around an exposed rib cage, leaves reach from beneath a resting hip joint — it is clear nature has flourished in the absence of human presence or intervention. The skeletal figures stress the patterns of growth and decay in an untouched ecosystem, and Weber rewards the viewer’s patience with hidden discoveries and textural nuances of reality. Aquamarine blues and hot pinks harmoniously coexist alongside vibrant corals and lime greens, creating a dream world in which fantastical jungles bleed into prairies and back again. Executed with a mixture of colored pencils, watercolor and acrylic, with this latest offering Weber continues to explore materiality, similarly blending and entangling the boundaries between drawing and painting. This approach to art-making is not coincidental, but an extension of thematic concerns: using these tools to celebrate the mysteries of the green flash and man’s inescapable end, Weber reminds us that the linearity of human perception, like the line of sight cutting across the landscape, is not as well defined as one would think. Weber ultimately asks the viewers to confront just how abstract the natural world actually is- while the green flash carries an otherworldly quality, it does in fact exist. It is wild and strange and beautiful, and entirely based in reality.
Sarah Ann Weber (b. 1988, Chicago, IL) received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, and her MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Weber has exhibited her work in solo exhibitions at venues including Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles; Club Pro, Los Angeles; and The Franklin, Chicago. As an Artist in Residence in 2012 at the Vermont Studio Center, she received an Artist Grant and was a recipient of the Ox-Bow Scholarship funded by the Joan Mitchell Foundation in 2013.