A significant new body of abstract paintings by British painter Sarah Medway, inspired by the River Thames.
This, London-based painter Sarah Medway’s second publication from Anomie Publishing, is devoted to the subject of the River Thames. The publication presents a series of twenty-eight oil paintings created in Medway’s canal-side studio in central London during the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020-21.
An introductory text by critic and writer Sue Hubbard takes readers through the series, exploring how the paintings engage with the qualities of the river to represent all manner of concepts, experiences and emotions, from a yearning for lost freedoms to roam the city during the pandemic to evocations of the subterranean waterways that form part of the city’s mythology. Like a flâneuse, Medway follows the river across the city, spanning the seasons, in various weather, light and atmospheric conditions, at different times.
The Thames is beautiful, terrifying, powerful, alluring and dangerous. Medway captures the river’s eclectic dynamics, rhythms and energy through the language of abstract painting, the ripples, bubbles, eddies and currents, the reflections and refractions denoted through sinuous lines, ellipses and spots, dots and loops, flecks and swirls. Referencing twentieth-century modernist movements such as De Stijl, Tachisme and post-war American Abstract Expressionism, Medway’s own, lyrical, often graphic approach to painting the Thames results in a vivid interplay between pattern and colour. The paintings have overt musical resonances – tempo, rhythm and dynamics as might be encountered in an orchestral score. Like the river, the paintings are at times joyous and playful, at other times brooding and menacing, yet always moving, in flux, traveling onwards towards the sea.
An in-conversation between Medway and writer, editor and curator Anna McNay provides insight into the artist’s life and work, discussing the processes by which Medway makes her paintings and the thinking behind them. Speaking to McNay, Medway asserts: ‘Water has always flooded the abstract language in my work. Not just the sea, but lakes, ponds, canals, dykes and rivers. The myriad and multiple reflections on water, during daylight or at night, have always been present in my paintings’. Designed and produced by Peter B. Willberg, this foil-blocked, cloth-bound hardback publication with a special dustjacket also features an illustrated chronology documenting Medway’s life and career.
Sarah Medway (b.1955, Seaton Carew, UK) is a painter based in London. As well as group exhibitions at institutions such as Tate Britain, the Whitechapel, the Royal Academy, the World Trade Center and Austin Museum of Art, Medway’s solo shows include Flowers East, London, Chelsea Hotel, New York, Kienbaum Gallery, Frankfurt, The Mandalai, Thailand, and Atelier Gallery, Spain. She has works in many public, private and corporate collections in the UK, US, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Hong Kong and Thailand.
88pp, cloth-bound hardback, 260 × 245 mm, c.58 images
RRP: £28 / €33 / $38
UK release date: 28 April 2022
US release date: 2 June 2022
Texts by Sue Hubbard, Anna McNay and Sarah Medway
Designed and produced by Peter B. Willberg
Published by Anomie Publishing, London
Images courtesy of the artist.
Artwork photography by James Tye.