art vs. art | sarah harvey vs. clare elsaesser

it's so weird how excited i get about art vs. art! i'm tempted to post it every week but i then i would have to try to find art vs. art and it's just not something you can force. art vs. art only works when i happen across them naturally...

anyway - i'm kind of proud of this week's comparison. again i am amazed how alike and different some works can be. these paintings below by sarah harvey and clare elsaesser* depict similar subject matter, and even use the same palette! both artists have blurred the viewer's ability to see the subject's faces (like last week!!). there's a sense of mystery as we yearn to know these women and what they are thinking. but more than that - i feel as if the female swimmers are searching for something as well. in harvey's work it's something outside of themselves but in elsaesser's work the women seem wrapped up in their own bodies.

*hat tip liza at length x wit for the find!


  1. This is so funny because I just found out about a new series by Victoria artist Lisa Hebden called "Swimmers" which also features women swimming.
    She says that the water creates " both barriers and windows to the figures, creating psychological tension and intimacy between the subject and the viewer."
    art vs. art vs. art?

  2. Oh, I can't choose! I've loved Clare's work for so long.. but now you've introduced me to Sarah Harvey! Some of Sarah's pieces have an almost menacing quality to them-- perhaps it is the voyeuristic angle or how the women seem to be holding themselves underwater.. but I do love the richness and fluidity of her visual style.

    Another favorite "swimmers" artist is Samantha French-- check out her work if you're not already familiar with it! http://www.samanthafrench.com.


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