Sarah Atlee, Dusted, Jacketed, 2011, Acrylic on wood, 29x17”
Oklahoma City artist Sarah Atlee paints primarily with acrylics. She enjoys their versatility, the textures they create, and the endless options of implementation, be it via a wash, a glaze, or impasto application. Utilizing the quick-drying advantage of acrylic, Atlee layers infinite colors and textures to create her works.
Atlee’s piece for the Concept/OK exhibition, Dusted, Jacketed, employs layers of “personal memories, imagery pulled from magazine pictures, found paper and fabric,” and of course acrylic paint, on a wood panel. The abstract work features deep blues, greens and reds highlighted with whites, yellows, and pinks. The piece was inspired from a “conversational seed” while Atlee was living in Indiana some years ago. In 2002, the IU Art Museum hosted a retrospective of Bill Blass, an illustrious fashion designer from the mid-20th century. The piece that inspired the conversation was a jacket composed of silk flowers. According to Atlee, she and her friends deliberated, what would the jacket look like “if someone allowed it to get all dusty? Would it become a dust jacket?”
Atlee considers herself to be “a complex and biased filter of information.” Absorbing “words, sounds, images, and experiences from everything [she] comes into contact with,” Atlee processes what is relevant and discards what is not. What remains is a combination of instances that fascinate her, which make “intuitive, unexpected connections.” By combining this “variety of source imagery and found materials,” Atlee arranges them into collages, and synthesizes this collection of visual information into her paintings.