Sarah Raphael was a darling of the contemporary art world when she died in 2001, aged only 41. Marlborough Fine Arts are showing a survey of her work (9 July– 8 August) including pieces she was working on at her death. What distinguished Raphael was her constant ability to surprise. Unlike many artists she did not develop a successful style or idiom and then repeat it for commercial success for the rest of her life. Every show of hers was completely different. At Agnew’s in 1992, her work was dominated by deep greens and blues and portrayed haunting figures locked in isolation. Three years later a visit to Australia inspired the glowing reds and oranges of the desert paintings, semi-abstract works also partly inspired by Aboriginal art. Her last major show “Strip”, at Marlborough in 1998, saw her work transformed again into a sort of Pop Art collage of tiny details in a cartoon strip format (above, “Strip page 9”, 1998). Her best work was a new series “Time travel for beginners”, featuring Op art landscapes, shown here for the first time.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Sarah Raphael: a survey of work 1995-2001, Marlborough Fine Arts'