The stares that eminate from artist Sarah Ball's portraits are intense. At the British artist's first solo show at the Stephen Friedman Gallery launching the 28th of January, 2022, these paintings offer little about who these individuals are, but focuses instead on their highly personal tells - whether jewellery, the way the hair curls or makeup. 

The portraits speak to fashion lovers, in their wonderfully muted but rich colour palettes and the idiosyncratic styling of each personality, celebrating the things that adorn us and how they alter perceptions. Newspaper cuttings, archive photography and social media (presumably Instagram) were used as sources of inspiration to build her characters with Ball saying that "these
new paintings are the “most autobiographical to date. They draw on [my] memories of young adulthood and the influence of artists such as David Bowie, Chrissy Hynde, Poly Styrene and Siouxsie Sioux.”

Dutch portraiture and contemporary film also influence her work. Ball shares that film-makers such as Roy Andersson motivate her work, suggesting that “these little vignettes give you a little bit of information but then invite you to fill in the rest.”

Ball was born in Yorkshire, UK in 1965 and currently lives and works in Cornwall. Ball studied at Newport Art College in the early 1980s and completed an MFA at Bath Spa University in 2005. She has exhibited widely including at The Royal Academy of Arts, London; Victoria Miro, London; Somerset House, London; Half Gallery, New York; Victoria & Albert Museum, London and Anima Mundi, St Ives, Cornwall. Ball’s works are included in the permanent collections of the Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker; British Museum, London and Rachofsky Collection, Dallas

On at the Stephen Friedman Gallery from 28 January 2022 – 26 February 2022