Sarah Dineen‘s paintings are bold minimalistic pictures that lie in the borderlands of of graphic art and painterly expressionism, their sheer size – which is impossible to translate on a screen – belying their quiet serenity. Their sheer physicality demanding our attention.
Having been brought up on Cape Cod Dineen’s aesthetic is rooted in her love of place, the sweeping landscape and the vast horizons of the Atlantic, the natural forces of water and earth deeply imbued in her sense of who she is and her relationship to the world around her. And while this bond isn’t apparent on first viewing the epic nature of her paintings is overpowering. Is the foundation of her contemplative paintings.
This profound connection to the land and her love of literature has led Dineen to create a series of paintings called ‘Certain Dark Things’, pictures inspired by the writing of the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, in particular his poems Sexual Water and Sonnet XVII which explore themes of secrecy, love, and darkness. From this emotional expression comes a physicality; rich textures, scratched lines and colours dripped and drawn until an image is born out of sheer energy, out of a painterly process in which Dineen is completely immersed, the size of the canvases forcing her to move, to be muscular, to stretch and climb to reach the four corners of her pictures. Here’s what she has to say about her paintings:
Certain Dark Things is an ongoing series of paintings inspired by Pablo Neruda’s Sonnet XVII. I have used this piece of writing as a still life of sorts, a place to begin and a place to pull imagery from its themes of secrecy, love, and darkness. As the series has evolved the forms have simplified, the velocity of mark making has slowed, and the idea of presence and monumentality have come to the forefront. The viewer is asked to find their own presence and their own body in relation to the presence of these large-scale forms. The forms themselves symbolize the body as a container for the self, a vast space of imagination, and pure potential. These forms also symbolize the self pushing out into the world on its own terms, making its own rules about how much to reveal and how much to conceal.
Below is Pablo Neruda’s Sonnet XVI:
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.