I began non-representational work in 2005, having studied representational images, such as those in a still-life, or landscape. I was drawn to the "experimental slant" that abstraction offered me. I didn't need to be attentive to getting "the apple to sit in the bowl", or creating a sense of "atmospheric perspective with mountains and trees". I was empowered, instead, to work with my sense of composition, color and texture, as the process of mixed-media and non-representation pulled me inward. The pure sensorial play of varied art materials (mixed-media), allows me to focus on my perception, and find a quietness.
As a social worker, I am interested in the power imagery and forms have of sparking our memory, and infusing our experiences with meaning. Often, abstracted forms, and color can comfort, even off-set the brain's unceasing need to over conceptualize, categorize, and become busy with thoughts that cloud and upstage our need to settle. Non-representational imagery can draw us closer toward deep experiences, and help soothe a noisy, chatty world. It also endows the viewer with the freedom to associate, remember, and find sensory response. Amidst passages of color, form and textures, one is invited to draw upon internal imagery and personal experience.
I work in a sculptural manner, layering paper, fabric, drawings and prints. As the collage evolves, I scrape away thickened patches of acrylic paint, and peel away strips of unwanted cloth. I overlay monoprints, monotypes, woodcuts and other textured passages. I cloud forms over with fabric, to have them recede, while I bring other forms and colors into the foreground. The composition of each collage is as important as are the techniques I use to create dimension. While I occasionally add representational drawings, such as portraits, I remain committed to the abstract, and the power it has to direct the viewer inward.
About the Artist
Sarah Kahn graduated from Bennington College with a double major in Early Childhood Development and Applied Art. She earned her M.S.W. from N.Y.U. and pursued post-graduate training in couples and family therapy at The Kantor Family Institute in Somerville, MA. Her private psychotherapy practice in Newton Centre specializes in creativity work for visual and performing artists. She is an adjunct faculty member at Lesley University in The Creative Arts in Learning Department. She has continued her art studies through the past 30 years.