Artists of Uptown Arts Center exhibition March 17-19–Our 9th artist profile Sarah Bastress


Sarah Bastress is a painter from West Virginia who now lives in Chicago. Her paintings often quote queer or rural tropes from painting history, pop culture, or her own childhood that stir up embarrassment and self hate, and then recreate them to make alternative existences. They are paintings of people and creatures in their element, inescapably themselves for better or for worse. They celebrate glee and horror for bodies and the relationships they form. The imagery is intentionally explicit (there is no false universal “what is left when the figure is taken out,”; boobs and hair and wrinkles are important), but they are intentionally ambivalent in content, landing between funny/sinister, gendered/androgynous, sad/jubilant, proud/lampooning, because the difficulties of navigating life and love as one type of goofball or another are confusing. She received her BA from Smith College and MFA from SAIC.

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