Sarah Faux: Clench and Release

M+is pleased to present Clench and Release, an exhibition of new works by Sarah Faux. The exhibition runs from November 16 through December 21, 2019, with an opening reception on Saturday, November 16 from 6 to 8 pm. This show, the artist’s first with the gallery, includes new paintings as well as a cut-canvas collage.

Sarah Faux’s paintings combine figurative representation with abstract elements, creating a visceral connection to both material and subject. In her compositions the body is presented in cropped, fragmented parts—a formal strategy that pulls the viewer into an intimate, up-close perspective where color and line are experienced as sensations inflected with emotion.

For Faux, the process of painting is a way of self-soothing. The frenzied repetition, pouring, then scraping is a pattern of clenching and releasing that occurs over and over, as images coalesce then disperse. In the exhibition's titular painting, interlocking planes of fleshy color form a vertical landscape, cut through by wet lines of oil stick. Two thumb-like sutures gently slip under cloth, graze a nipple and secure these layers of flesh to each other. Constructed from a first-person perspective, the painting thrusts the viewer into a feminine body. She rests her leg on a hairy man who reclines towards the top of the canvas, both bodies conduits for color.

The large-scale cut-out collage in this group functions like a key to the figurative components within the other paintings. Whereas in the other works the body is observed through washes of color, the figure here is clearly evident and determined first through shape, then color. 

Faux’s sensual and evocative compositions chart the emotional landscapes of the human form. The disembodied shapes, which come into focus then recede into abstraction, synthesize a history of gestural and figurative painting into work that is at once deeply rooted, searching, intuitive and raw.


Sarah Faux (b. 1986, Boston, MA) received her MFA in Painting from Yale University in 2015 and a joint BA/BFA from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009. She has had solo exhibitions Capsule Shanghai (Shanghai,China), Cuevas Tilleard (New York, NY), Thierry Goldberg Gallery (New York, NY) and Stems Gallery (Brussels, Belgium). Faux's work has been exhibited in group shows nationally and internationally, including Loyal Gallery (Stockholm), Fredericks & Freiser (New York, NY), yours, mine & ours (New York, NY), ltd los angeles (Los Angeles, CA), Capsule Shanghai (Shanghai, China) and Shoot the Lobster (New York, NY). Faux was awarded the prestigious Gloucester Painting Prize and Residency at Yale and has participated in other residencies including Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, New York), Cuevas Tilleard Projects (Lamu, Kenya) and a fellowship at the Ox-bow School of Art (Saugatuck, MI). In 2020, she will be the artist-in-residence at the Swatch Art peace Hotel (Shanghai, China). Her paintings have been written aboutin Cultured MagazineartcriticalSurface MagazineModern PaintersThe Wall Street JournalInterview MagazineHyperallergic and Artsy, among others. Sarah Faux lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.