Sarah Leahy is a New York based artist who creates paintings and constructions using black India ink painted onto the surface of clear sanded plexiglass. She has developed a unique painting process. Slowing, deliberatively she builds layer upon layer of delicate ink washes creating soft grays and deep blacks, while alternately removing areas of ink with sandpaper to yield luminous white. The image is brought into focus on the sanded surface as the embedded India ink accumulates. Darker areas are built up with ink while lighter areas are sanded out, allowing the viewer to see the wall surface through the translucent glass. Refracted light is held within the body of each pane of plexiglass, causing a luminous dimensionality. The paintings embody a huge compression of time and attention. Each piece of plexiglass is attached to the wall with screws through the surface or small nails at the edges to hold it in place. The overt materiality of the work; ink made of carbon soot and water, plexiglass made of extruded acrylic, steel hardware, contrasts with and heightens the atmospheric effect. The body of light refracting through the translucent acrylic glass combined with the luminous monochromatic tones of black to white, create a concentrated presence. The work invites attentiveness, while also a slowing down for the observer.
Leahy has presented eight solo exhibitions at the Kim Foster Gallery in New York. She has participated in exhibitions at Piazza di Pietra Gallery in Rome, The Cello gallery in London, The Mattatuck Museum in CT, The Katonah Museum of Art in NY, The Naples Art Association in FL, The Alexandria Museum of Art in LA, The Axis Gallery in CA, The University of North Carolina in DL, The Visual Arts Center in NJ, The Albright Knox Gallery in NY, The National Academy Museum in NY, The Bronx Museum of the Arts in NY, as well as Art Miami and Art Chicago. She has been the recipient of a grant from The New York State Foundation for the Arts, and is an ongoing studio recipient from The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. She received a Norfolk Fellowship from Yale University and a BA from Bennington College. Leahy’s work is in private collections in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Dallas, Pittsburg, as well as Canada and the UK. Reviewed in the New York Times by Grace Gluck who said; “Her aim is too capture light... This is the path she has chosen and it works.”