Hemmings Gallery | Tiny Fruits by Sarah Bird

Tiny Fruits by Sarah Bird
Oil paintings
Artist reception on December 29, 5-7:30pm

Sarah Bird is an Idaho- and Oregon-based realist oil painter. She draws on nineteenth-century techniques and seventeenth-century imaginative Flemish perspectives to weave still life and landscape into intimate tabletop worlds that sometimes tip into the surreal.

Historically, still life paintings honored material wealth and colonialism—for example, elaborate feasts featuring exotic fare and rare China, crystals, and silks—but Bird’s paintings instead recenter the natural, local, and marginal: trailside weeds, backyard, and feral fruits, found and thrift-store objects.

Though done in the studio, her paintings also intentionally evoke and symbolize landscapes, arguing that our experiences of a place are perhaps of greater value than our material obsessions. In her arrangements, individually and taken together, one can also see the passing of the seasons, and a loose calendar of a year, of a life, emerges. These pieces are the “tiny fruits” of seasonal pleasures and of painting.

Bird paints only with a very small, size zero round brush, which makes the process similar to egg tempura painting or needlework: the whole surface is carefully heavily touched. Though painted from life rather than photos, the elements are never all together as they appear in the finished paintings. Flowers wilt and are replaced, dishes and stones move around as if of their own volition. The paintings are collaged realities, each actively composed and edited over time, an ongoing improvisation in the way of abstract painting.

Small touches of the surreal also call attention to the artifice of arrangement and, most importantly, assert the abiding importance of the imagination in how we frame the world.


Untitled, Tiny Fruits
Oil on linen on panel, framed
20” x 24”

Untitled, Tiny Fruits
Oil on linen on panel, framed
16” x 20”


340 Walnut Ave. | Ketchum