Born in Somers, NY; based in Ridgewood, NY
Sarah Grass draws allegorical creatures in psychedelic scenes of material violence, bodily disarticulation, and perverse joy. With ink, colored pencil, and watercolor on paper, the Chilean-American artist treads complex regions of human consciousness. Her characters symbolize hidden meanings buried within ourselves—exposing the impressions that life events leave on our souls.
The Phallic Female series, which Grass began in 2020, centers on a female dachshund whose form resembles a phallus. This semi-erotic pet has become the signature protagonist of the uncanny world that Grass builds across her compositions. The dog appears in psychologically intense situations that surface human feelings and issues of identity. Throughout this body of work, the animal experiences physical disintegration, environmental disassociation, and emotional misconnection. Femininity and masculinity, suffering and healing, anguish and ecstasy hang in the balance in these vignettes. The dachshund assumes fluid states of being—operating both within and outside of the patriarchal systems and social boundaries to which her human counterparts are subjected.
Grass received an MFA in Art Practice as well as a BFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts. Her work has been exhibited in the United States and internationally at venues such as Spring Break Art Fair, New York, NY (2022/2020); Deanna Evans Projects, New York, NY (2023); Satellite Art Club, Brooklyn, NY (2021); Eve Leibe Gallery, London (2021); The Ferry Gallery, Bangkok (2018); New School for Social Research, New York, NY (2016); and the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX (2015).
I make drawings to symbolize psychological and spiritual experience. The drawings revolve around a shapeshifting dachshund character whose form represents the complex psyche. The dachshund’s symbolic meaning is manifold, from nonbinary phallus to hyper evolved ancestor to animal instinct to deity.
Combining inner experience with the form of a dachshund in various situations, a new entity is fused to illustrate consciousness itself. At times the dog is grounded, paws rooted into the earth, while others it is manipulated by sanitized, gloved human hands, or forced into reproduction and dangerous labor. The dachshund is sometimes solid and other times dispersed. Through this prismatic symbol I can express the complexity of consciousness in a way that feels wild and inclusive rather than manufactured, manicured, or oppressed by the constraints of written language.
My approach to drawing is stream of consciousness, resulting in diagrammatic depictions of heightened emotional states and self-analysis. With a combination of permanent ink pen and soft-blended colored pencil and watercolor, the drawings are as bold and biting as dainty and demure. Soft color and intricate linework pulsate and swirl, giving a sense of action and expansion within a still image. While drawing, there is a sense of connecting with another intelligence, one that I relate to the feminine principle, or state of simply being and receiving the images that come to mind.