It’s an unusual satisfaction that I get out of viewing Sarah Small’s work. Whether it’s caused by the hysterics, or perhaps the unexplainable nudity, her images contain a disturbing humor that is difficult to ignore. She seems to explore the extremities of human emotion to extract her favorite parts, creating atmospheres that are almost too absurd to be real. I was first introduced to her work over the summer through my sister’s roommate. We shared similar interests in music, video gaming, and an appreciation for films with silly parts, so when he brought her work to my attention, I had already anticipated the amusement. We were browsing her online portfolio as our quiet laughter erupted the stagnancy of the kitchen, and all of a sudden I recognized a photograph among the collection of odd treasures. “Arthur Flying” reveals a naked woman bearing stretch marks, holds a happy baby in the air, while a young girl directly acknowledges the viewer, immobilized with dissatisfaction. Her work from “The Delirium Constructions” was displayed in the XTO Nude Image Awards exhibition at Farmani Gallery, where I was interning. Another image that I enjoy analyzing is one titled “Pappa Sleeping.” The setting is about as practical as the given text, but the characters and their simultaneous performances are what stimulate my thoughts the most. As the old man rests in his chair, undisturbed with cane at hand, a little girl is frozen during mid-thrash, freakishly representing that of a sinister fiend, a zombie child. Even their colors seem to play opposites; the bluish blazer as cold death and the red tank top for hot energy. They are strategically constructed through this style of emotional architecture, balancing the power of opposing expressions to stabilize and solidify the presence of tension. It’s incredible !
I am amazed at how her titles are so straightforward but leave me more dumbfounded than before. I think it is natural for a viewer to want to make a connection with the artist, to trace their movements and get inside their head, but I am delighted to have accepted defeat with these images. While I am still forming my series, I want to achieve that same sense of intrigue; hopefully in a more structured fashion than my previous work.
Mimi and the Girls