My name is Sara Girletz and I am a visual artist who currently resides in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I collect moments and communicate them through the use of gesture, washes, photography, found objects, texture, layers, and mark making. Just like my concepts, I can never choose just one medium. A mixture of paint, photo transfers, oil pastel, and graphite reinvents my work and keeps it interesting both in progression and final outlook. Whether it be concept, process or material, I am in a continuous spiral of revisiting, renewing, upcycling, subtracting, adding on and retracing. During certain stages, my work unfolds as a representation of my identity and experiences interacting with my altering surroundings.
My current focus is a body of work called homebody (#homebodybysaragirletz). This body of work is a unique collection of vintage, edgy, upcycled mixed media art centered around the motif of houses. I grew up in a small town in south eastern Alberta and my ties to the Canadian prairies run deep. I moved to Calgary to complete my formal art education, and in 2011 I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the Alberta College of Art and Design. While in school, I used to do a lot of work outside the studio photographing old, abandoned structures in the rural parts of Alberta. I didn’t realize it at the time, but doing this sparked my ongoing interest between structure and its relatable aesthetic to art materials. The observations I captured with my camera gave me a huge inventory of textures and other visual references for my current paintings/assemblage works. Over the years, I also collected a great multitude of beautiful windows, doors, bits of weathered wood, metal with a natural patina, and hardware that used to tower in both my studio and parents’ basement. One day in the spring of 2015, I was cleaning and randomly placed a rusty latch on top of one of my unfinished paintings and my collection homebody was born from there.
I’ve always explored themes of displacement and presence. In both a literal and conceptual sense, houses have always been part of my art practice. Each house in my homebody collection is a scene of my personal experience overlapping an abstract interpretation of landscape. I’m always seeing things differently. Because of this, each piece leading to the next varies depending on light, time of day, season, and what mood I’m in.
I recently watched author Patricia Albers give a lecture on Joan Mitchell. She explained that a large amount of Joan Mitchell’s abstract paintings were inspired by her memories of her feelings about particular places, experienced at particular times. I relate to this. My hope is this work will be seen as a composition of my thoughts and be able to evoke visceral recognition that is relatable for the viewer.