Sara Risley Fine Art


During the mid 20th century, the Abstract Expressionist movement created a new direction for painting based in personal and gestural expression. In radical response to more representational painting and, to some extent, to the advent of photography, this group of painters preferred the exploration of emotion and experience rather than that which could be easily seen with the eye. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, a leader in the Bauhaus movement school of Modernism, also experimented with ways to abstract photography. He said, “The most astonishing possibilities remain to be discovered in the raw material of photograph" and that photographers "must learn to seek, not the 'picture,' not the esthetic of tradition, but the ideal instrument of expression.”

Abstract photography is my ideal instrument for expression.

I am greatly influenced by the Expressionists in creating my photography based digital images. I seek to distort what is in front of me through my camera tempered by my mood. I use my camera both traditionally and not. At times, I open the shutter and allow the movement, frowned upon in traditional photography, to create shapes, colors, and lines which are merely reminiscent of the actual subject. Other times, I focus closely at a small part of a whole and compose in camera as if painting an abstraction of it on canvas. I explore what digital technology offers to further express and disturb. Layering like or unlike images, saturating color, accenting or creating lines and shapes are all ways in which I can stretch the real and expose the viewer to images that have not been seen before, yet might be vaguely familiar.

I welcome serendipity. I allow my mood and my experience to inform what I create. As with Abstract Expressionism, my work evokes questions rather than answers, feelings rather than recognition. It allows the viewer to respond emotionally to movement and shape and color rather than study the technique.

My photography based digital images may be printed on watercolor paper or metal most in very limited series.

My abstract paintings are acrylic and ink on canvas.

All images are available for sale unless otherwise noted.

Commissions welcome.