Executed in highly gestural, energetic strokes of forest greens and floral tones, Sasha Ferré's large-scale abstractions investigate our deep entanglement with the natural world. In the midst of a major ecological crisis, her explosive, swirling forms become microcosms of the complex relationship between modern society and the environment.Read More
Ferré's depictions of luscious flora engulf the viewer in a jungle of vibrant colour and line, drawing parallels between nature, body and mind. Constrained by the tiny basement of her London studio during lockdown in 2020, she sought greener pastures on the surface of her canvases, explaining that 'the best way I found to get closer to nature was to imagine it'.
Embracing the unpredictable and liberated from any single meaning, Ferré's compositions are drawn directly from her surroundings or emerge during the painting process. The artist paints on the floor, approaching the canvas as a flower bed spread across her studio. Applying oil sticks directly to the surface, she creates on the verge between drawing and painting, blending the pure pigments with her hands. With the brushstrokes as the protagonists, she introduces a range of textures which enliven the compositions and highlight their tactile qualities. Focusing on the materiality of paint in her sensitive interpretations of the natural world, the artist positions herself as an observer, guided by her intuition and embracing the fundamental 'unfamiliarity' of painting.
Drawing on her abiding fascination with plant sentience and ontology, Ferré's practice mimics the way that plants interact with their environments, taking in sunlight, oxygen and water as fuel to create their own matter. She also cites 19th-century French painters such as Delacroix and Monet as important influences, as well as Per Kirkeby's geological approach and sense of colour. Drawing on Cezanne's approach to leaving paintings unresolved, Ferré works alla prima, opening her compositions up to endless possibilities and revealing a depth that makes them feel well-travelled. Her performative and gestural approach results in compositions whose spatial organisation allows room for viewers to roam freely through her expansive terrains.
Text courtesy UNIT.