Reviews

Of Katabasis: Come on Down, Solo show at Salerno Gallery, Glebe, Sydney, Oct/Nov 2012

Follow this link http://www.strobed.com.au/2012/10/katabasis-come-on-down-sal-higgens-salerno/


Of Mourning Chorus Phoenix, Solo Show at Sheffer Gallery, Darlington, Sydney, June/July 2012

Follow this link http://www.strobed.com.au/2012/07/morning-chorus-phoenix-sal-higgens-sheffer/


Of Face Apart, Group show at Salerno Gallery, March 2012

Follow this link http://www.strobed.com.au/2012/02/face-apart-salerno-gallery/


Of Ape King, Highly Commended at Glebe Art Show September 2011:

“This small work is impressive for it’s confidence and spontaneity. An exquisitely efficient and deft use of brushstroke, a highly original colour palette, and a quirky sensibility exemplified by the subject matter provide the viewer with a painting that defies easy interpretation (which is why we liked it)”

Judges comments


Of Self Seer at LSA Summer Show 2010:

“I was particularly impressed with the nude painted by Sal Higgens. Entitled Self Seer, the painting of a woman with arms raised to her head is put together with such freshness and vigour that you could be forgiven for thinking it might be still wet.

Drips of pink paint fall down her body like blood and it seems that Sal is painting her model from the inside out. The nude positively throbs with the veinal reality of what it is like to be human and have blood pumping round your body. The raw emotional quality of the work impresses but, more than this, it is Sal’s refusal to deliver a beautiful picture because it would tell us less about what it is to be human. I am delighted to say that this picture is a little unsettling.”

Patricia Preece, Artspace Journal 34, Winter 2010


Of Mourning Chorus at the Satellite Gallery 2009:

“Her work, painted with dash and vigour, shows figures with the bodies of plucked chickens and human heads. These hang in a void and might be meat hanging on hooks. There is no background or context but the chicken bodies look female. The paintings show half of humanity beating ineffectual wings in a void. The chicken wings are handless and the fat legs have no feet. They are going nowhere. The figures are vigorously modelled and the faces that top them are cleverly foreshortened. We see them from below their chin and their heads are tilted backward.

The artist trained in Britain and the European influence of Jenny Saville and Georg Baselitz is evident.

The assurance in the modelling of the figures is counterpointed by the way streams of pinky-red are allowed to run down the canvas in ways that evoke the dripping of blood…

The emotional intensity of the brushwork is visually compelling and the artist comes accross as powerfully motivated to make a statement about her view of the human condition. The only handicap is the lack of context for the horror. This is an aspect of humanity laid bare in a compelling way, reinforced by the emotional intensity of the brushwork.”

TJ McNamara, Art Critic, New Zealand Herald Saturday March 7 2009


Higgens’ work captures the raw squeal of humanity, peppered with all the poignant beauty our condition has to offer. Her skilful paintings are exquisitely considered, yet embrace all the raw energy, authenticity and freedom of the sketch. Higgens’ unique palate and cutting dark humour make for visually magnetic and intellectually compelling pieces. For me, Sal’s works have a subtle genius and visceral bite, not soon forgotten.

Shelley Hargis, Director, Satellite Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand 2009


The Jenny Saville comparisons are unavoidable, of course. They run in similar visual interests, with ideas of flesh and butchery and the melding of bird and human in a slightly disturbing celebration of the paint medium. Differences between her and Saville are obviously through size… Higgens also talks of the ‘spirit of painting’ living on in a world where it has supposedly been put to the grave. Such is something we like to think is true.

http://thepaintandbake.blogspot.com/2009/02/ohoh-nowhere-have-we-gone.html 2009


Of Empire National Youth Art Award Winner 2008:

From the original entry with a photograph of the work – it was a piece that grabbed my attention. This is not always a good indicator as a work in the “flesh” can often have a very different impact to an image of the work. But the arrival of this work did not disappoint. All aspects pleased the judging eye. Those looking for painterly or drawing skill found it in this piece. I personally was looking for something less tangible – my favorite artworks have something familiar yet something new about them – they tell a story and they ask questions. For me, this piece had it all, and I eagerly anticipate seeing what comes from this artist over the coming years.

Pauline Lewis, Judge, Empire Art Award, Cambridge New Zealand, October 2008


Of Playhouse at The Small Dog Gallery 2008:

It was an entriguing and evocative show; paintings of children with expressions ranging from distorted laughter to agonising grimaces. A sense of drama was cleverly created through the fast brushwork and low-key colour range and it left the viewer pondering about the stories behind the images. To quote the artist herself “May paintings are stories about stories. They tell you nothing but that by the absence of narrative they suggest a narrative.” The powerful images in the exhibition were based on old black and white post war photographs of children which Sally had found in fleamarkets…

With her challenging and unique paintings she has given New Zealanders something to reflect upon and in return New Zealand has given her the freedom to paint again.

Anna Woodroffe, Arts and Culture Writer, Ponsonby News May 2008