Spotlight

Spotlight Visual Artist Sasha Ferré

Championed by Mariane Ibrahim
The Wick - Sasha Ferré ,Lush life II, 2023, Oil stick on wood panel
120 cm x 100 cm x 5 cm
Above  Sasha Ferré ,Lush life II, 2023, Oil stick on wood panel 120 cm x 100 cm x 5 cm”
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The Wick - Studio portrait of Sasha Ferré
Above  Studio portrait of Sasha Ferré
Interview
Sasha Ferré
03 May 2023
Interview
Sasha Ferré
03 May 2023
Visual artist Sasha Ferré’s first UK solo exhibition has now opened at Unit London gallery. Named after the biological process by which all organisms develop shape, ‘Morphogenesis’ sees Ferré consider how all living things grow together and long to connect across a series of abstract and imaginary landscapes. Each canvas has been designed to flow seamlessly into the next as colours leak from one work to another, to create a vivid interconnected environment.
Sasha Ferré says: “I am concerned with our relationship to the natural world. I feel the ecological crisis calls for new stories and new imaginaries.

“My practice is an investigation into those relationships that shape us (humans and more-than-humans such as plants, animals, microbes, fungi). Considering that painting can become a space to celebrate aliveness as awareness of the many relations upon which we depend to be alive.”

She adds: “The current show at Unit London feels to me like the outcome of several years of intensive practice and research. I feel the work is now at a point where it should be. A year ago, I was preparing a solo show in Tokyo. The show took place in summer 2022 during the pandemic, so I could not go. This was very challenging but it ended up being a great experience, one that allowed me to meet incredible people, such as [this week’s champion] Mariane Ibrahim.”

Ever since their first encounter, Mariane Ibrahim, who founded her namesake gallery in 2012, has been an avid collector and champion of Ferré’s paintings. She was therefore the natural choice to shine a spotlight on her work this week.

Ibrahim says: “Sasha Ferré’s work is an amalgamation of illusory and abstract landscapes. When I first encountered her paintings, I felt a sense of otherworldly energy, presented in a rich colour palette filled with energy stemming from gestural strokes and vegetal forms. Her ability to use colour to subject an amount of improvisation is interesting and draws viewers into her world. It is refreshing to see work that feels as if a form will grow off the canvas at any moment.”

In a process comparable to jazz music, Ferré allows abstraction to unfold uninhibited and encourages viewers to form their own interpretations of her artworks. While working on ‘Morphogenesis’, Ferré also became increasingly aware of the environmental damage that is caused from the solvents in oil painting. Wanting to be part of the solution, she now uses oil sticks instead, using her fingers to blend the creamy viscous material onto each canvas.

You can see the result at Unit London gallery until May 20.

About the champion

The Wick - Spotlight Visual Artist Sasha Ferré

Seven years after launching her namesake gallery in Seattle, Mariane Ibrahim moved their space to Chicago in 2019. In September 2021, the gallery opened their inaugural European space in Paris and in 2023 opened a location in Mexico City.

The gallery has hosted acclaimed exhibitions, with a founding focus on the African diaspora, from leading and emerging artists. The gallery has worked with global renowned institutions and have had an international presence at art fairs with acclaimed and prize-winning presentations.

In 2021 Ibrahim was awarded The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of the Arts and the Letters) on behalf of the Ministry of culture in France. Notable prizes and appointments include the Prize Winner from Presents Section, The Armory Show 2017, current Selection Committee, The Armory Show, current Visionaries Committee, Performa Arts and member of the Art Dealers Association of America.

“It is refreshing to see work that feels as if a form will grow off the canvas at any moment.”

Place of Birth

I was born and bred in Paris, France.

Education

Bachelor of Arts, Art History, Sorbonne University, Paris
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Integrated Studio, Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, US
Master of Arts, Painting, Royal College of Art, London

Awards, Accolades

The Royal College of Art’s 2020 Hine Painting Prize and a distinction level dissertation.

Current exhibitions

My first UK solo exhibition, ‘Morphogenesis’, is at Unit London gallery in Mayfair until May 20.

Spiritual guides, Mentors

Milena Dragicevic, my tutor at the Royal College of Art who mentored me during my last year of study there. And those I never got a chance to meet but whose ideas and theories guide me: authors such as David Abram, Tim Ingold, Emanuele Coccia and Andreas Weber. And, of course, pioneering female abstract artists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, and, more recently, Vivian Suter.

Advice

Find a way to keep making art, even when circumstances are challenging. That might be when your best work emerges. Make art as if it were your very last day on this Earth.

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