Sarah Irvin

Above: Details of The Sleep Series, 2014, by Sarah Irvin.  Watercolor on paper. Each panel 5″ x 7″.


My current project-based series is entitled A Bringing Forth, derived from the Latin root of the term post-partum. In this work I respond directly to my experience of parenthood through naturalistic observation as I record, and document the care of my seven-month-old daughter. The work is enabled by and exists within the context of motherhood.

In this exhibition, you see a fifty foot installation of The Sleep Series, one of many series in the project. I created this series during the second and third months of my daughter’s life, exclusively while she slept. Each set of watercolors began at the start of a nap and was considered complete when she awoke. By doing this I allowed my circumstances to dictate aspects of my creative output.

Other iterations of this project are drawings made while breastfeeding; drawings created by our glider rocking chair; transfer drawings created by walking across the nursery rug; my daughter’s nursery as camera obscura; cyanotypes created with her blankets, toys and clothes; metalpoint drawings capturing her activities of play and early stages of her own mark-making captured through fingerprint dust. As a whole, this project-based work is a personal narrative taking form as poetic visual data collected through self-anthropology. 



Sarah Irvin (b. 1985, Florence, AL) creates autobiographical work investigating her perceptions of family members. The medium, format, and technique for each series is dictated by the character of her relationship to the family member and the narrative of how their lives interact. In her current work, she responds directly to the experience of caring for her infant daughter. Works include watercolors only created while the baby is sleeping and drawings created exclusively while breastfeeding. These works serve as a response to and record of her experience as a parent and caregiver.In 2008, Irvin graduated with a BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Georgia. She is an MFA candidate at George Mason University with an expected graduation date of 2016. Her work is in collections such as the Try-Me Urban Restoration Project and The Federal Reserve Bank.
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