She didn’t grow up in the area, but abstract artist Claire Sarfeld is making the Fraser Valley her home, and the young artists says she can really feel the region taking root in her artwork.
“When I lived in Toronto, I used a lot of reds, browns, (and) blacks,” said the 26-year-old painter. However, now that she’s in beautiful B.C., Sarfeld says she’s noticing a difference. “(Now it’s) greens and blues and sunset colours.
“(My paintings are) a page in my journal—they’re so personal, and I can’t recreate them in any way because they’re (entirely) based on how I was feeling at that time.”
Growing up in Ontario, Sarfeld says she made the move to the Fraser Valley area after she finished school three years ago. But it wasn’t until her third year in school that she found her true calling.
A classically trained artist, Sarfeld says stepping away from the hyper-realistic images she was creating was liberating. “I’ve never felt so free as I do when I paint abstract. It really resonated with me, and (I’m) very confident in the work I create.”
From Aug. 9 to Sept. 17, at the O’Connor Group Art Gallery (9201 Courboudt St.), Sarfeld will be presenting Colour Mark, an art show comprising about three dozen original paintings of all sizes.
And although some may say abstract paintings look easy enough to create, Sarfeld says the process is actually very involved.
“Abstract is such a learning curve,” said the painter. “For me, it’s all about the tactility of the paint … playing with light and shadow, (or) working with metallics, (which) have such great (colouring and) add another 3D element.”
And then “there’s (the) layers and different media. It’s more than meets the eye,” said Sarfeld. “A large abstract painting you need to visit in person to understand how massive they can be and (to) see all the different layers.”
But, says Sarfeld, more and more people are beginning to understand abstract art isn’t as easy at it looks.
“Those painting parties really helped!” explained the artist as she snaked her way along a wooded path, dodging the waving canopy and hopping fallen logs. “It’s a great way to see how hard it really is and how to approach things that aren’t realistic.”
A high energy individual, Sarfeld explains how she learned at a young age that she can better focus and open herself to the creative process if she exerts a bunch of energy beforehand. The same also goes for telephone calls, she added with quickened breath.
As for her upcoming show: “I’ve been working towards this show for about six months,” said Sarfeld on the phone as she continued hiking the woods behind her house, which is located in Mission.
“I’ve been really busy: this is one of the largest shows I’ve done because the space is so big. This is the 14th show I’ve done in the last three years,” she said.
Colour Mark is also “the most colourful show I’ve ever done,” added Sarfeld. “The whole body of work is a series and you can see how they bridge from one to another, but they’re all singular pieces … and everything is for sale.”
And when Sarfeld says everything is for sale, she means it. “My dad makes the frames and I (put on) the canvas and prime it. There’s just something about starting at the very beginning and going until the end.
“So the collector is really getting a piece of me and my hard work,” said Sarfeld.
But what those collectors end up with is subjective, says Sarfeld. “A viewers mood can totally change the perception of a painting … and (they) can notice something different (daily).”
Colour Mark runs from Thursday, Aug. 9, to Monday, Sept. 17, with the opening reception on Aug. 11, from 1 until 3 p.m. Admission is free and Sarfeld will be in attendance to discuss her pieces and process.
For more information about Claire Sarfeld, or to view examples of her art, please visit her online at ClaireSarfeld.com. For more information about the O’Connor Art Gallery, please visit their website at OConnorGroupArtGallery.com.