Galleri Urbane is pleased to announce My Letters Bloom In Your Mouth, an exhibition of artworks by San Francisco-based Sarah HaBa. For her third solo exhibition with Galleri Urbane, HaBa presents two bodies of work: a series of gestural floral paintings paired with text works, screen printed on paper.
“I get very geeky about Victorian flower symbolism,” HaBa describes about her choice of painting subject. “It’s sweet to provide something for an audience. It’s like painting.” She lists references like Baroque flower still lifes and Monet’s late gestural paintings among those that speak to her work. She is an avid gardener at her home in San Francisco, and she beams about her collection of Daphne Odora, Gothic Purple Hollyhocks, and Climbing Roses. Those same flowers that passersby admire have become this new body of work. Unlike her previous works in watercolor, these works lack control, and teem with emotion. Works like Wisteria lilt in blue, while another work, Nemesia boasts voluptuous blooms in warm orange and magenta.
The text works, by comparison, are crisp statements applied to pristine paper. They speak to the wistful and sentimental quality of nature with statements like, The Air is Sunshine Between Us. These statements came about after HaBa was working on titles for her flower paintings when she realized the words had poetic power contained within them. This process, of titles becoming works themselves, created a reflective dynamic between the two bodies of work. “Because the text work can be so desire filled, the florals kind of worked off the text,” HaBa says. They are typeset on tabloid paper and screen printed in a deep black. The pagination in the top corner suggests they aspire to fit into a book one day.
Seeing the work communicate across mediums and approaches offers a sense of duality, as well as the versatility of HaBa’s artistic expression. “It’s an impactful statement altogether,” she says of the pairing of paint and text. Though they are seemingly two different bodies of work, HaBa is certain that they strengthen each other.
Raised in Sacramento, Sarah’s first art exposure was through family friends’ art collections and the Crocker Art Museum. She grew up surrounded by the works of Northern California painters — Wayne Thiebaud, Gregory Kondos, Richard Diebenkorn, and David Park. Their artwork became her visual vocabulary. Sarah continued her studies at UC Santa Cruz, receiving a BFA in 1995.
Painting serves as a lifeline to Sarah, pulling her forward during difficult times. Eager to see the next painting, she works with a wet paintbrush in hand, trying to capture her emotional life. Sarah paints in her studio overlooking a garden in the Mission District of San Francisco... head down, listening to music, lost in thought.