Sarah Dolby was born in Wanaka in 1971 and raised in Dunedin, New Zealand. Sarah travelled extensively throughout Asia, Morocco and Europe before returning to New Zealand to complete a Fine Arts degree at the Dunedin School of Art in 2000. After graduating Sarah was employed by Animation Research Ltd and was the first artist to compliment a team of computer scientists - eventually taking on the role of creative director. In 2012 Sarah made the decision to become a full time artist.
Sarah's work has always been character driven and combines traditional portraiture with narrative. The haunting, romantic women of her Gothic paintings are often famous literary figures including Ophelia and Mary Shelley or fairy tale archetypes such as the Wicked Witch or the Damsel-in-Distress.
Sarah's characters are immediately dazzling in their power and beauty, but on closer inspection reveal hands rubbed raw, flushed complexions and above all else, unnerving expressions. Set against stark, yet luminous backgrounds, the focus of each work is firmly on the character, and the depth and complexity of emotions barely contained behind their gaze.
Sarah works patiently, building up the graceful lines of thin necks and arms, the folds of garments and the subtle pallor of skin in layers of fine detail. For Sarah, giving time to the paintings allows their emotive qualities to slowly emerge in the midst of their atmospheric palettes, creating works that are as personal and as resonant as diary entries. [text Orexart Gallery]
Sarah lives in Dunedin, New Zealand with her husband and son.