1 of 2
"Babygirl’s Baby Blue"
Sara Genn, "Babygirl’s Baby Blue," 2012, oil on canvas, 36” x 36”.
2 of 2
"Valuing a Memory"
Sara Genn, "Valuing a Memory," 2012, oil on canvas, 36” x 36”.
By Maureen Latta
How did Sara Genn get her paintings displayed in exclusive Manhattan homes next to works by Andy Warhol and Richard Serra? It helps that she grew up in an artistic family with the encouragement of her dad, Robert, a successful landscape painter. But more crucial was her single-minded focus and her willingness to follow her dreams to New York.
When Genn’s brother, James, saw her tiny apartment in the West Village – she had nothing but an easel, a piano and one chair – he said: “Sara, I get it. You fell in love, just not with a person, and you’re willing to do anything for that love.”
It was an easy choice for Genn, who grew up on the West Coast and graduated from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. “You live without lots of things in order to have things you really, truly desire,” she says. Genn’s big break came two years after she moved to New York when art dealer Blair Clarke purchased one of her small watercolours from a group show at an artist-run gallery in Soho, and then decided to represent her.
Genn’s colour-field paintings explore relationships between low-key colours of similar value, producing subtle optical effects aimed at both exciting and relaxing the viewer. Her patterns are soft-edged, vibratory and unabashedly feminine. Friends thought her approach might erode in New York’s harsh environment but, if anything, it became more pronounced.
“I make paintings that provide a reprieve, or a place to go, or a place of meditation, or some kind of softness, and an unapologetic, natural, handmade quality.”
Sara Genn is represented by Mayberry Fine Art in Winnipeg, the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina and two B.C. venues: Hambleton Galleries in Kelowna and the White Rock Gallery. Her work is priced at $800 to $6,000.