Sara Genn

Original acrylic and oil paintings | Biography | Documentary
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Documentary: Sara Genn and father Robert Genn
at the magical Hollyhock retreat on Cortes Island

Videography by Peter Segnitz

Painter SARA GENN was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia and obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queen’s University in Ontario. She is best known for her exhaustive use of colour and patterning, and repetition of motifs. Her work often blurs the line between high art and craft and references other forms such as quiltmaking and textile design.

Genn began exhibiting professionally at age 18 and sold out her first solo show at 19. Her work has appeared in both commercial and public venues and been featured in such publications as Town and Country, New York Magazine, Canadian House and Home, Elle Canada, Canadian Living, and Vogue. In 2001, Genn was made a United Way Special Achiever for her charitable contributions to the organization. She also works regularly with The Steelhead Society, Big Sisters, Art For Life, Fashion Cares and A Loving Spoonful.

In 1998 and 1999 Genn lived in France and Spain and kept an illustrated diary that she published as one of the Internet’s first travelogues. It remains one of the most widely read digital travelogues. In 2002, she travelled by boat along the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories and painted the Canadian landscape. Her father is Canadian landscape painter Robert Genn. Since 2004 Genn has sojourned annually in Paris to write music and to paint. In 2008, she lived in Lucca, Italy and produced a series of large-scale colourfields based on Lucca’s Renaissance walls. She has resided in New York City since 2003.

ARTIST’S STATEMENT: A painting is a monument. It serves for engagement, consideration, and contemplation. It exists as an object of desire, a provocateur, a companion. My paintings honor the act of painting while questioning painting’s practical usefulness. Yes, I’m focusing on formal elements, exhausting tonal balance and chasing lyrical pleasure and vibration. By stretching rough-toothed canvas raw and priming it either on its backside or with coats of very diluted gesso, I can experiment with levels of saturation and the effects that can be achieved with paint viscosity, soaking and staining. I’m attempting to give the work a “life” as a canvas object. Areas on this object “sit up” while others soak in, achieving a lush, suede-like tactility and confusing the depth and disappearance of the image.

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