Sarah Medway – The River Series

Sarah Medway, Anna McNay

This, London-based painter Sarah Medway's second publication from Anomie Publishing, presents a series of twenty-eight abstract paintings inspired by the River Thames. It features an introductory text by Sue Hubbard, an in-conversation with Anna McNay, and an illustrated chronology of the artist's life and career.
Date Published :
April 2022
Publisher :
Anomie Publishing
Contributor(s) :
Sue Hubbard, Peter Willberg
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781910221303
Pages : 88
Dimensions : 10.24 X 9.65 inches
Stock Status : In stock


This, London-based painter Sarah Medway’s second publication from Anomie Publishing, is devoted to the subject of the River Thames. The publication presents a series of twenty-eight oil paintings created in Medway’s canal-side studio in central London during the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020-21.

An introductory text by critic and writer Sue Hubbard takes readers through the series, exploring how the paintings engage with the qualities and complexities of the river to represent all manner of concepts, experiences, and emotions, from a yearning for lost freedoms to roam the city during the pandemic to evocations of the subterranean waterways that form part of the city’s mythology. Like a flâneuse, Medway follows the river across the city, spanning the seasons, in various weather, light, and atmospheric conditions, at different times.

The Thames is beautiful, terrifying, powerful, alluring, and dangerous. Medway captures the river’s eclectic dynamics, rhythms and energy through the language of abstract painting, the ripples, bubbles, eddies and currents, the reflections and refractions denoted through sinuous lines, ellipses and spots, dots and loops, flecks and swirls. Referencing twentieth-century modernist movements such as De Stijl, Tachisme and post-war American Abstract Expressionism, Medway’s own, lyrical, often graphic approach to painting the Thames results in a vivid interplay between pattern and color. The paintings have overt musical resonances––tempo, rhythm, and dynamics as might be encountered in an orchestral score. Like the river, the paintings are at times joyous and playful, at other times brooding and menacing, yet always moving, in flux, traveling onwards towards the sea.

An in-conversation between Medway and writer, editor, and curator Anna McNay provides insight into the artist’s life and work, discussing the processes by which Medway makes her paintings and the thinking behind them. Speaking to McNay, Medway asserts: "Water has always flooded the abstract language in my work. Not just the sea, but lakes, ponds, canals, dykes and rivers. The myriad and multiple reflections on water, during daylight or at night, have always been present in my paintings."

Designed and produced by Peter B. Willberg, this foil-blocked, cloth-bound hardback publication with a special dustjacket also features an illustrated chronology documenting Medway’s life and career.

About The Author

Sarah Medway (b.1955, Seaton Carew, UK) is a painter based in London. As well as group exhibitions at institutions such as Tate Britain, the Whitechapel, the Royal Academy, the World Trade Center, and Austin Museum of Art, Medway’s solo shows include Flowers East, London, Chelsea Hotel, New York, Kienbaum Gallery, Frankfurt, The Mandalai, Thailand, and Atelier Gallery, Spain. She has works in many public, private, and corporate collections in the UK, US, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Thailand.

Sue Hubbard is an award-winning poet, novelist, broadcaster and art critic. Twice winner of the London Writers Competition and winner of third prize in the National Poetry Competition, her publications include Everything Begins with the Skin (Enitharmon), Ghost Station and The Forgetting and Remembering of Air (Salt), The Idea of Islands: a collaboration with the artist Donald Teskey (Occasional Press, Ireland). Twenty of her poems appeared in Oxford Poets 2000: an Anthology (Carcanet) and, as the Poetry Society’s only Public Art Poet, she was responsible for London’s largest public art poem, Eurydice, at Waterloo. Her poems have been read on Poetry Please, The Verb and Front Row and appeared in The Irish Times, The Observer and numerous magazines and anthologies and have been recorded for the Poetry Archive.
Her prose and novels include Rothko’s Red: short stories (Salt), Depth of Field (Dewi Lewis) and Girl in White (Cinnamon Press). Her third novel, Rainsongs, is published by Duckworth, UK, Overlook Press, US, Mercure de France and Yilin Press, China.

As an art critic she has written regularly for The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, Time Out, The New Statesman and many leading art magazines. Her selected art writings Adventures in Art is published by Other Criteria.

She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and twice been a Hawthornden Fellow. In 1999 she was awarded a major Arts Council award to finish her second novel.

Anna McNay is a writer, editor, curator, and researcher based in Hitchin, UK. She studied history of art at Birkbeck, University of London. Former Assistant Editor of Art Quarterly, the magazine of Art Fund, McNay has written for The Guardian, Elephant Magazine, The Burlington Magazine, RA magazine, and regularly contributes to Studio International.

Peter Willberg is a designer based in London, UK.

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