Sarah Guppy

Sarah Guppy – Artist

Sarah Guppy’s career as a painter began in 1973 studying at Auckland Society of Arts. Furthering her education Sarah went on to study graphic design at the Auckland Technical Institute. In 1978 she moved to London where she studied fine art at Morley College under Maggi Hambling.

Over the following 18 years Sarah Guppy absorbed influences from English and European painting and culture.

Sarah describes herself as  Sarah Guppy “an artist who loves the surface of things.” This tactile fascination encouraged Sarah to explore various methods of paint application. “The surface is a wonderful place – it can be a skin, it can be where water meets air, it can be rough, smooth, cold, hot, cracked, dense and soft.” In her exploration of surface Sarah has worked with paper, corrugated cardboard, collage, canvas, gesso on wood, clay and glass, applying oils, gouache, ink, watercolour, crayon, charcoal and glass enamel paint.

Sarah works intuitively in a very organic manner.  She feels strongly drawn towards still life, which evokes in her a kind of staged cameo in which the viewer is invited to observe a domestic scene of objects, bottles, fruit, and flowers. Her subject matter can be inspired by everyday objects such as the tools of her trade – paints, brushes, jugs and vases.

Glass painting was discovered when Sarah worked in a frame-making studio as a gilder. A damaged glass painting was brought in for restoration, it was an image painted around 1820 and depicted Indian lovers. She reworked the painting and fell in love with the process of working backwards. Sarah became inspired by the vast array of artists using this glass painting technique, especially the folk artists of the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe, and the early work of Kandinsky.

“Painting on glass involves reversing the image and composing the work in an opposite way to painting on canvas. Viewing a glass painting is rather like being a swimmer observing the world through goggles.”

Sarah Guppy’s paintings are displayed in private collections in England, France, Spain, Belgium, Canada, America, Morocco, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. In 1996 she returned from London to live in Auckland where she continues to paint, gild and create with clay. Sarah’s insight into the contemporary art scene extended after having worked as a gallery manager for the Milford Gallery.


Examples of Sarah’s work can be viewed at Mobile Art Gallery, 23 Edwin Street, Mt Eden, Auckland.