Sarah Rupp’s paintings are an attempt to capture and exaggerate the various ways that women are portrayed in contemporary popular culture. Commenting on the ongoing social trends associated with ideas of beauty, public appearance, and perception, her artwork is fueled by her personal interest in both the female figure and the high fashion industry.
Her process begins with collecting images from fashion magazines and the internet, then distorting the photographic source in a careful construction of appearance that gives her subjects a new or heightened identity. Rupp’s use of oil paint allows her to thoroughly blend and layer the paint to achieve the effect she wants out of her work.
Smooth, delicate application of paint juxtaposed with a bright, dramatic color palette creates an exciting interplay of shadow and light that both draws attention to her subjects and maintains their enigmatic aura. In this way, she hopes the viewer can feel the physical and psychological tension between beauty and strangeness in the work without being limited to a single interpretation. “I want viewers to attach their own emotional meaning to my work,” she writes on her website.
“I create art in order to explore not only my own fascinations, but to challenge the artistic language of both my body of work and a larger one: the various ways that women are portrayed in popular culture, fashion, advertising, & even historically,” she explained in an interview with Art of Choice. “My work addresses trends associated with ideas of beauty, appearance, and perception. I’m creating a bend on a timeless subject matter, the female form, and also celebrating it.”
Take a look at some of her portraits, but beware of their piercing gaze!