June Kelly Gallery

Sarah Plimpton
Alphabet +

Sarah Plimpton - A - 2022, Oil on Yupo Paper, 11 x 14 inches

Alphabet A, 2022
Oil on Yupo Paper
11 x 14 inches

The June Kelly Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Sarah Plimpton, titled Alphabet +, reflective of her resolute interest in the intrigue of the alphabet letter itself.  The exhibition will open on April 20 and remain on view through June 20.

Plimpton, who is both accomplished poet and painter, writes, I have always loved early pre-historic art.  The first lines and circles made by humans have an incredible force.  I wanted to make lines or signs that had the same force.  Those first lines and circles were eventually arranged for meaning - the alphabet.  In my paintings I often used letters or invented letters. During Covid I could not get to my studio.  I had always dreamed of either painting or drawing every letter of the alphabet.  Covid gave me a chance to do that.  I took up the pencil and drew the alphabet.  Every letter.  Once the quarantine was over, I returned to the studio and painted each one.  Shadows and light for every letter, shadows and light for other paintings.

In this body of work, Plimpton, ever enthralled with letters of the alphabet as “capacity for ‘magic,’” illustrates in oil on Yupo Paper, shadows and light effecting the independent landscape of each letter, (Alphabet A, 2022).  Plimpton experiences her strokes as zen …calmness channeled by intuitiveness when forming the letters.  With vast spatial ambiguity, limited palette, she craftily anchors each letter straightforwardly in bold presentation in the picture plane.

Plimpton’s oil on linen paintings evidence her genius with improvisation …distinct freehand mark making of invented alphabet letters appearing as spur-of-the-moment interconnectedness within hazy abstractions of landscapes.  It is the letters themselves in Plimpton’s alphabet paintings that practically quiver and dance as communicant of illusions of infinite depth.

“I’m illustrating letters,” says Plimpton, alphabet or invented…making them come alive in a different way,” (Altogether Now, 2021).

Plimpton will also show a handmade book that she created with her illustrations of letters of the alphabet along with text.

Plimpton is a native of New York City.  She received a bachelor’s degree from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and attended Harvard Medical School before moving to Paris, where she lived for 19 years.  She also studied at Pratt Graphics Center in New York. Her work has been shown in exhibitions in New York, Paris, and Zurich.  She is represented in many important public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Heckscher Museum, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, Columbia University Rare Books and Manuscript Library, The Harris Collection at Brown University, New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress.


Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Alphabet M - 2022

Alphabet E - 2022

Maybe No - 2022

Altogether Now - 2021

Take Another - 2021

   Sarah Plimpton Bio

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