Review: Sarah Baddon Price – Eclectic – An exhibition of acrylic and mixed media paintings is at the Frame Workshop and Gallery, 22, St Nicholas Street, Ipswich until April 3

Powerful portraits, striking still lifes, and paintings that challenge the imagination all feature in Sarah Baddon Price’s stunning exhibition, now showing at the Frame Workshop and Gallery in Ipswich.

This is a joyous show, a true celebration of form, feminity, balance, and colour, that draws its inspiration from a wealth of sources.

Baddon Price’s palette is dynamic and daring. In Portrait In Yellow the bright yellow skin tone of the female head catapults from the canvas. Bold line, markings, and areas of pattern frame the face hinting at echoes to the past and connections to the present. This is a strong image that suggests female empowerment and demands attention. Fuschia Chair is similarly arresting. Here the reclining female figure is painted in bold whites and greys; the paint thickly textured in areas and suggestive of stone. The sumptuous pink chair she lounges on contrasts with the pale skin tones, as do the lightly painted flower motifs which add grace and feminity. The style is semi-abstract. Features are hinted at but not rigorously defined; only one nipple teases the eye. This is a very sensual image.

Sarah Baddon Price, who studied at Cumbria College of Art, and Winchester School of Art, now works from a studio in her home in Ipswich. This domestic backdrop has recently provided the inspiration for a number of still lifes in the show. Pears Need To Confer, Observed Objects I, & Observed Objects II (three acrylics) are all beautifully composed celebrations of simple form; brightly coloured vases, jugs, cups, and luscious fruits. Ripe dark pears appear in a number of paintings in the show, perhaps symbolic of personal and artistic maturity. What makes these works so remarkable is the compositional balance she achieves, whilst at the same time playing with perspective. One is aware of both the isolation and connection between objects; in this way they mirror human relationships. The use of line, blocks of colour, pattern, and circles creates rhythms and repetitions also consistent with life patterns and relationships.

The largest painting in the exhibition Unresolved is more abstract. It’s dominated by four shapes which are suggestive of a family. One area of the painting contains black boulder forms reminiscent of stone, there are also organic and moon shapes, patterns of squares, and cyclical lines. The palette is vivid in parts and full of depth and resonance in other areas. Essentially, this appears to be a painting about relationships which recognises fluctuation and change. It’s painted with immense energy, evident in the brushstrokes, and is extremely powerful to behold.

There is a lot of emotional depth in this show, clear in the quite surreal Telephone Helpline and Boat Emptying Net And Ring, but in Mona Lisa Smiles you also sense wit and humour. Overall though, it leaves you with a sense of delight and wonder in its aesthetic gift. Not to be missed.

Sonia Carvill