Installation view of Whip-poor-will at Josh Lilley, presenting Sarah Dwyer
Installation view of Whip-poor-will at Josh Lilley, presenting Sarah Dwyer
Installation view of Whip-poor-will at Josh Lilley, presenting Sarah Dwyer
Installation view of Whip-poor-will at Josh Lilley, presenting Sarah Dwyer


Obidil by Sarah Dwyer, 2014
Mumblings by Sarah Dwyer, 2014
Endormie by Sarah Dwyer, 2014
Egungun by Sarah Dwyer, 2014
Mrs E by Sarah Dwyer, 2014
Sipiwe by Sarah Dwyer, 2014
Roaring Silence by Sarah Dwyer, 2014
Pilgrimage by Sarah Dwyer, 2014

Sarah Dwyer


12 September – 10 October 2014

Josh Lilley is pleased to announce the opening of Sarah Dwyer's third solo exhibition at the gallery.

The title of the show, Whip-poor-will, takes its name from the nightjar bird found in north and central America, and is most noted for being commonly heard but less often seen. Its haunting, ethereal song has also made it the topic of numerous legends, one of which says it can sense a soul departing, and can capture it as it flees.

Like the whip-poor-will, Dwyers most recent paintings define themselves through a process of emergence. For a time hidden within the artist herself, an interior dialogue manifests itself onto her canvases, and is caught in a moment of fleeting energy. Guided by intuition she arrives at composition over varying periods of time where fluid traces of figuration and anthropomorphic forms are suspended amongst hastily patched expanses of colour. Linear wisps cut through an array of vivid pigments and intensively worked compositions, where references become fragmented through varying painterly energies embedding themselves into the works surface.

Dwyer often talks of the large, almost autonomously made drawings that stem from lingering thoughts in her subconscious; elements of both reverie and loss. Leaning on the absurdist narratives within surrealism, her pictures are constructed quickly so that she can be swayed by chance and instinct. Her paintings subsequently retain both the successes and mistakes of such actions, allowing drawing and line to result as essential components that offer a new freedom and delineation of space.

Narrative has been exchanged for pure painterly energy, a tension that exists within and between her different pictures. Through this oscillation between flesh and paint, line and abstraction, figure and ground, the viewer is boldly battered by a barrage of Dwyers ever expanding painterly language.

Sarah Dwyer (b. 1974 in Cork, Ireland) lives and works in London. She studied Environmental Economics at York University in 1996, working in this field for several years before changing career and completing her MA at the Royal College of Art in 2004. Previous solo exhibitions include Falling into Positions, Josh Lilley, London, 2012, Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin, 2011, and Hands Stuffing a Mattress, Josh Lilley Gallery, London, 2009. Selected group exhibitions include I shall stay the way I am because I do not give a damn..., Lombard Fried Gallery, New York, 2014, New Order II, Saatchi Gallery, London, 2014, Fear, Lo and Behold, Salon de Vortex, Athens, 2011, Daily Miracles, Josh Lilley Gallery, London, 2009 and Art Futures, Bloomberg Space, London, 2007.