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Hohenberg Travel Prize 2015: Sarah King

Sarah King MFA 2015 was one of our Hohenberg Travel Award recipients of 2015. We asked her to share with us her experience. 

Join us for The Hohenberg Exhibition Opening Reception with works by Sarah King and Katie Ruiz, January 14, 2016, 6-8 pm, at the New York Studio School.

Sarah King, Seeking Lions, Parque Madrid, Gouache on Aquaboard, 12″ x 6″


Sarah King, Saint Micheal Transcription, El Prado, Madrid, Pen and Ink, 7″x 5″

Words cannot express how deeply grateful I am to have been awarded the Hohenberg Travel Prize. This award has had a profound impact on my art and has been one of the most important experiences of my life.

The Hohenberg Scholarship allowed me to travel throughout Spain for seven weeks. I began my trip in the South and traveled throughout Andalusia.  I studied the Islamic art and Architecture throughout the region and I was particularly impressed by the azulejos (tiles) that covered the buildings. I was drawn to the Mesquita in Cordoba, with its rhythmic arches and roman columns. I painted at every location, focusing on the landscape and specific light of each place. My favorite place was Ubeda, which was a small Renaissance town that was up in the mountains.

Painting in Ubeda

After traveling throughout Andalusia I spent five weeks in Madrid. My apartment was located in the Plaza de Santa Ana which was an 8 minute walk to all the major museums. I learned that the godfather theme song was the siren song of all the street musicians and it echoed throughout the stone walls within the Plaza.

I went to the Prado every day, painted in Ritero Park, and saw a variety of retrospectives. The retrospective that had the greatest impact on me was the Bonnard exhibit at the Mapfre foundation. It was so breathtaking I shed a few tears. In the Prado I was truly moved by the paintings of Velasquez, Murillo, Rubens, Bosch, Goya, and Titian, just to name a few. I was so energized creatively from being at these exhibitions that I ended up painting into the early hours of the morning.

Detail of Bonnard mural painting, Mapfre foundation, Madrid

While traveling and looking at the large scale works of Titan and Ruebens I began to imagine how and what I would paint that would echo both the masterpieces that had such an impact on me and tell my story of my own mythological figure.

Since returning from Spain I have embarked on creating large scale drawings and paintings based on a female biblical archetype that is not well known. These paintings will be based on the story of Lilith, who supposedly was Adam’s first wife, based on the book of Geneses I. She has often been seen as the world’s first feminist icon and has been a misunderstood figure throughout history. I am using the landscapes I have painted from life for the backdrop of these scenes, the sculptures and paintings I saw in Spain to inspire the subject matter, while using the paintings of the great Masters such as Rubens, Titian, Goya, and Velasquez for the structure.

I am so honored to have had this opportunity to travel throughout Spain. This trip has truly shaped my creative life and it is an experience that I will forever cherish.

Sarah King, Lilith Slaying Eve’s Serpent, Charcoal on Paper, 60″ x 36″
Sarah King, Blue Trees, Seeking Lions, Madrid, Gouache on Aquaboard, 7″ x 21″
Sarah King, Retiro Afternoon, Madrid, Gouache on Aquaboard, 18″ x 6″

Snapshots From NYSS

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