Detail of "Evening Hollyhocks" by Sara Scribner

There is a lot of superb contemporary realism being made these days; this article by Allison Malafronte shines light on a gifted individual.

In the paintings of SARA SCRIBNER (b. 1982), young women appear in ethereal settings, dressed in vintage clothing, and usually surrounded by flowers, butterflies, birds, and other feminine symbols. Featuring otherworldly environments and mystical motifs, these paintings create a sweeping sense of being in another time or place, perhaps even in a dream. That is why Scribner refers to her paintings as “dreamscapes.” In her words, she is looking to transport the viewer to “a more magical place,” using her imagination and skills as a realist painter to create that portal to another world.

“Lately, I have been thinking more about creating dreamscapes,” the artist shares. “I want to capture the moment when you wake up from a dream — when you open your eyes but can still see the other world you came from, in your mind’s eye.” Scribner also draws inspiration from real-life settings that contain dream-like qualities. In particular, when she is outdoors — in forests, gardens, or by the sea — she likes to reflect on the beauty and grandeur around her, then uses it as fodder for future paintings. “There is something about being in nature that makes me contemplative,” Scribner says. “The paintings ‘Evening Hollyhocks’ and ‘Harvest at Last Light’ are both studies on that feeling.”

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SARA SCRIBNER (b. 1982), “Evening Hollyhocks,” 2019, oil on aluminum, 24 x 8 in., Gallery 1261 (Denver)

As with all of her paintings, in “Evening Hollyhocks” Scribner not only pays close attention to fine details in the figure and flesh tones but also in the design of the background. When looking through her work, we see numerous backgrounds that, if extracted from the whole, could function as decorative paintings or textile designs themselves. Combining the complementary aesthetics of portraiture and design creates an even more compelling image.

Based in Oklahoma, Scribner honed her painting skills at the Academy of Art University (San Francisco), from which she graduated in 2005. Through her studies and experimentation, she realized that combining traditional and imaginative realism was her strength and passion. As she says, “Traveling the world through books, sifting through stories, I find myths and folktales that use flora and fauna in their allegories. When combined with realism, the results are contemporary paintings that speak a language that has been used by painters and poets for centuries.”

SCRIBNER is represented by Wally Workman Gallery (Austin).

Article excerpt reprinted with permission from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine


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