The Jessie Edwards Gallery is “rocked” to announce our upcoming exhibition from June 23rd – July 5th on Block Island showcasing the new artwork of New England native Sarah Verardo.
The complexities of the ordinary are brought to life in these oil on linen paintings by Verardo. Her subjects in these 10 paintings, ranging in size from 16” x 20” to 24” x 30”, are stones. Most are found objects from Narragansett RI, a place that calls to her as home. Her connection to the land and sea in southern New England is tangible in her art. Her ability to paint what she sees as inherently held in each of her subjects makes the viewer take a second look, a closer and more thoughtful look, as we realize these are not photos – they are all seamlessly rendered multi-layered works of beach stones found on her contemplative walks by the sea.
The layers of paint invite us into the crevices, nooks and inclusions in the stones she uses as her subjects. While most artists paint scenes which are smaller than the real life subjects they use, it is not so for the work Verardo renders onto her canvas. Some of her objects are small, the size of her thumbnail, yet she elevates them to an art form of their own and shows their individual beauty utilizing negative space to hold the object. With nothing else to draw our eye we are brought into the intricate world of the stone.
Her work evokes childhood memories of vacations by the sea, of childhood walks along the sand picking up a stony treasure to bring home with us. Something to carry with us to remind us of our time away. Many have an emotional attachment to stones and it is this which beckons the viewer to delve deeper while looking at these paintings.
Verardo has been painting shells for years and in January 2023 she started painting stones. She says, for her, working with stones has added a new complexity and way of looking at ordinary objects she hadn’t fully appreciated before. She finds a real joy in painting the stones she finds. Each one is so different and there is an endless array to what she finds. The sea-worn, battered stones hold so much variation and interest and rendering them in oil is a process of layering exactly what she sees. It is work that makes the viewer contemplate how something that may seem so ordinary, is portrayed as something so extraordinary.