Art & Contemporary Art

Sarah Cooney

Sarah Cooney (b.1982 Stockton-on Tees, UK) is a Tees Valley based artist. She completed her MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art, London in 2008 and has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. In 2020 her painting ‘Evelina’ was acquired for the Middlesbrough Collection by MIMA, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art through the Tees Valley Response Collecting initiative.


‘Each painting in my practice occupies its own internal sense, nuance and rhythm.

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I orchestrate subtle ranges of colour, texture and lyrical gesture, extending a vocabulary of marks and motifs that echo across bodies of works. Paint escapes around the edges of the canvas and careworn surfaces, added flourishes, splotches and smears all reveal that there are varying levels of enjoyment, anticipation and frustration in playing with the possibilities of paint. There are frenetic revisions and reworkings, all the time willing for the elusive moment or passage of paint that will take the work in an unexpected direction. Painterly revisions accumulate on the canvas alongside traces of provisional marks rubbed away- in a process of sense making.

During the course of making, works are frequently handled. They are carried and moved around the studio, propped up alongside other pieces, taken on and off the wall, laid flat on the table and rotated regularly to determine which way up they should go.

I arrive at colour choices intuitively. I am receptive to colour in my everyday environment and this undoubtedly feeds into the work. I enjoy colour mixing and build up colours over time, shifting tonal gradations, mixed greys and soft pastels before adding a speck of juicy coral orange to add some vibrancy.

Sarah Cooney in her studio

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