Anna McNay

Review of Sarah Jane Moon: Portraits at 5th Base Gallery


Sarah Jane Moon:

5th Base

23 Heneage Street,
London, E1

27 October – 2
November 2013 (extended by one day)

The current recipient of the Royal Society of Portrait
Painters’ Bulldog Bursary, Sarah Jane Moon, only became an artist in recent
years, after arriving in the UK from her native New Zealand (via Japan,
Australia and Malaysia). Taking a Diploma in Portrait Painting at the
Heatherley School of Fine Art, where many of the tutors come direct from the
Slade, trained her in a traditional manner, with focus being placed on
perspective, drawing, and studies from life. Even before her course was over,
though, Moon was beginning to rebel, and, in working from a photograph, she
flouted the rules, but, at the same time, discovered a freedom which allowed
her to see the resulting work more as a whole, with equal focus on objects
behind the figure, rather than just as a sketch of the figure itself. For Moon,
a portrait is about much more than just the head and shoulders of the sitter:
it’s about the whole body, its posture, its location, and the belongings which
hold significance for this person, speaking of his or her interests and

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