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Sarah Buckner Biography

German contemporary painter Sarah Buckner explores the storytelling potential of her medium in atmospheric figurative and abstract works that bear a poetic emotional potency.

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Early Life

Born in Frankfurt, Sarah Buckner studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Palermo between in 2006 and 2008. She later studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf between 2009 and 2017, where she was taught by painter Peter Doig. In 2014, Buckner studied at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Sarah Buckner Artworks

Sarah Buckner is known for her use of painting as a medium for storytelling—both within each independent canvas, and through considered installations that group multiple paintings in a storyboard-like layout.

Varying in detail, size, and abstraction of imagery, Buckner's painting offers a partial insight into an elusive overarching story, while also navigating painterly concerns such as form, colour, and narrative. Cycling between the fictional and the real, Buckner visualises narratives drawn from literature, film, and her imagination, as well as from personal experiences and observations, to create dreamlike sequences that elicit whimsical contemplation or escapist fantasy.

Buckner's paintings are characterised by their use of intense colour with strong emotive resonance, sympathetic to expressionism or Colour Field painting. Though the artist works primarily with oils, she treats them with a fluid, gouache-like approach, resulting in richly layered images with surreal undertones. Oil painting Das Spielistatus (2018) depicts a woman sleeping across a sofa with a butler standing in the background. The woman's fluid, dark form combined with layers of moody green and pink hues lends the composition a moody atmophere—inspired by the artist's stay in New York. In Justin (2019), a boy with a backpack sitting on the ground is tinged with a dark grey-blue wash, evoking a sense of melancholy or isolation.

chances are

Buckner's solo exhibition chances are (2019) at Ermes — Ermes in Cologne brought together a collection of paintings inspired by Lewis Carroll's novel, Through the Looking-Glass (1871).

The large-scale oil on canvas work Pleroma (2019) is almost comically made to look like an open book, spread edge to edge with blank pages. Tweedle (2019) depicts two roughly painted children seated outdoors at a table covered in a checkered cloth with three large black clamshells resting on top. Other paintings feature a boy looking down at his reflection in a pool of water, a rearing horse, cats, a mostly empty playground, and abstract studies of form and colour. Buckner's eccentric imagery rendered in a simplified, childlike style fittingly interprets fantastical narratives with nuance and material sensitivity.

On chances are, Paulina Seyfried wrote for Mousse Magazine: 'Determined by a sensitive, sometimes watercolour-like treatment of oil resin paints, [Buckner's] works are a combination of photographic notes on places and situations that undergo a transformation in to fantastic spheres.'

Awards and Accolades

In 2018, Buckner was the inaugural artist in residence at Edward Ressle, New York, which culminated in a solo exhibition at the gallery in the same year. In 2020, she was awarded the NRW+ residency at Kunsthalle Münster. The resulting solo exhibition Head over Heels was presented at Westfälischer Kunstverein in Münster in 2021.


Sarah Buckner has presented in solo and group exhibitions across Europe and the United States.

Solo exhibitions include Head over Heels, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2021); chances are, Ermes — Ermes, Cologne (2019); Sarah Buckner, Edward Ressle, New York (2018); and Petto, L'Ascensore, Palermo (2015).

Selected group exhibitions include L'Invitation au voyage, Esther Schipper, Berlin (2021); Salon des Amateurs, Tramps, London (2018); Lia Pasqualino Noto / Casa Studio, Manifesta 12, Palermo (2018); 1001 Bild, Villa de Bank, Enschede (2018); Eggy and Seedy, Munchies, London (2017); Beyond the Stage, Canongate Venture, Edinburgh (2013).

Misong Kim | Ocula | 2021

Sarah Buckner
featured artworks

After the Rain (He can't see everything) by Sarah Buckner contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Sarah Buckner After the Rain ("He can't see everything"), 2022 Distemper and oil on linen
165 x 145 x 2 cm
Esther Schipper Request Price & Availability
Carina Nebula by Sarah Buckner contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Sarah Buckner Carina Nebula, 2022 Oil on canvas
160 x 260 cm
Esther Schipper Request Price & Availability

Sarah Buckner
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Esther Schipper contemporary art gallery in Esther Schipper Berlin, Germany
Esther Schipper Berlin, Seoul, Paris

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