Night Gallery is pleased to announce Swept, a solo presentation of new paintings by Sarah Miska. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery.
Swept conducts a magnified survey of the regimented world of English horseback riding, marking a highly contemporary intervention in the tradition of equestrian painting. Though tightly cropped, Miska’s tableaux evoke a spirit of compositional play rather than constraint, which suggests an irreverent approach to an activity marked by formality and status. By zeroing in on a singular element—a horse’s neck, a bit in the mouth, the tightly-wound bun of a rider—Miska distills her subject’s essence, and in turn subverts the luxury of the sport.
An adroit painter with relentless diligence, Miska renders each strand of hair in meticulous brushstrokes that underscore the exacting control over animal, rider, and appearance characteristic to English riding. The artist’s origins in sculpture lends itself to her deft understanding of space and physicality. Painstaking attention to detail gives each painting a voyeuristic edge, conjuring the experience of standing close to a person or horse and noting the nanoscopic intricacies (and imperfections) of their appearances. Miska’s observations of horses and their movements, smells, and sounds complement her ability to capture the nuances of their forms; horses and riders are not portrayed as such, but as crystallized representations of their milieu’s aesthetics. Within the specificity of her newest body of work, Miska incentivizes viewers to consider broader themes of self-adornment and performativity.
Miska examines the rituals of outward presentation with the assiduity of a magnifying glass, appealing to our innate desire to control how we are perceived in the external world. Taken altogether, the works in Swept deconstruct the pristine whole only to build it back up again.
Sarah Miska (b. 1983, Sacramento, CA) received her BFA from Laguna College of Art and Design in 2007 and her MFA from Art Center College of Design in 2014. In addition to Night Gallery, she has had solo exhibitions at Hernando’s Hideaway, Miami; and griff’s, Milwaukee. Miska’s work has been featured in group shows at Below Grand, New York; Dread Lounge, Los Angeles; Super Dutchess, New York; and Wilding Cran Gallery, Los Angeles, among others. In 2022, she will present a solo show at Friends Indeed, San Francisco. She lives and works in Los Angeles.