Sarah Faux: Sweetbitter

24 March - 29 April 2023 New York

Opening Reception: Thursday 23 March, 6 – 8pm


Hales is delighted to announce Sweetbitter, Sarah Faux's debut exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition features large-scale gestural paintings that embrace uninhibited sensuality and bodily autonomy. In Faux's new work, overlapping volumes of color glow through layers of drips and scrapes in shallow depth. The title of the show, Sweetbitter, conjures coexistent tastes on the tongue as well as conflicting sensations in the body. In her tightly cropped compositions, Faux delves into the interior, uncovering how much of our emotional and sensory lives occur beneath the skin. 


Faux's paintings call forth the real and imagined, navigating shifts in narrative perspective. In disorientating configurations, Faux mirrors and inverts bodily forms- this fragmentation is a compositional and psychological tool.  Her works consider the split identity of the self that one occupies and the self that one can see; a physical body and its reflection. To her, neither is entirely whole and so she keeps her paintings fluid, images slightly out of reach. In this way, Faux invites us to occupy the at-times uncomfortable space between perception and recognition. Organized from a first-person point of view, Faux's paintings build upon earlier feminist approaches, that of painters Joan Semmel and Luchita Hurtado. This perspective compels onlookers to both occupy a feminized body and viscerally participate in its creation.  


The strap (2022) combines pours of thin grey paint, with acid yellow brushstrokes and swathes of blues and purples to create a stormy emotional landscape. The edges of bodies, punctuated by protruding phalluses, emulate a mountainous skyline. In Little trouble girl (2023), what presents as a vibrant pull of red reveals a person performing for her own reflection. Hammers regularly occur in Faux's work, sometimes as euphemism but here utilized as sexual tool. 


Looking at these paintings encourages an acceptance of the unknown. Faux lets images come to the surface and slip away just as easily, taking pleasure in their unraveling. From this in-between place, an intense yearning for touch permeates the entire exhibition- the lure of a glimpsed glance, the promise of a subtle caress…. In Faux's work we see that by exploring your own desire, you can construct a new self. 


Sweetbitter is accompanied by a zine in which Faux invited artists and writers to make works about bodily pleasure and pain. Impelled by the artist's own experience with chronic pain, this project deepens Faux's engagement with the somatic, placing her drawings in a wider context. The zine includes works by Felipe Baeza, JJJJJerome Ellis, Gaby Collins-Fernández, Chitra Ganesh, Emilie L. Gossiaux, Clare Grill, Em Kettner, Doron Langberg, Ling Ma, Estefania Puerta, Mariam Rahmani, Kaveri Raina, Alex Roth, Victoria Roth, Tao Siqi, Ruby T, Sam Vernon, Gray Wielebinski and Mie Yim. 



Sarah Faux (b. 1986 Boston, MA, USA) received her MFA in Painting from Yale University in 2015. She gained a joint BA/BFA from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009. Faux lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. 


Faux's solo exhibitions include Whatever I see I swallow at M+B, Los Angeles, CA, USA (2021); Perfect for Her at Capsule Shanghai, China (2020); 11am Mirror Hole at Cuevas Tilleard Gallery, New York, NY, USA (2018); Seether at Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York, NY, USA (2017) and Gemini, Stems Gallery, Brussels, Belgium (2016). She has been exhibited in many group shows, including Lyles & King, New York, NY, USA (2022); Loyal Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden (2020); Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, NY, USA (2019); Nevven Gallery, Göteberg, Sweden (2018); Fredericks and Freiser, New York, NY, USA (2016) and Edward Thorp Gallery, New York, NY, USA (2015). Faux has been the recipient of many residencies and grants, including a Keyholder Fellowship at the Lower East Side Printshop, New York, NY, USA (2018-19), artist residencies at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA (2017, 2012) and the Yale School of Art's Gloucester Painting Prize, Gloucester, MA, USA (2014). Faux's paintings have been written about in Cultured Magazine, Surface Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Modern Painters, Hyperallergic, i-D Vice and Artsy, among others.