Selected works by Margot Sanders

Margot Sanders
In Fine Company


Acrylic on paper

230 x 450 cm (made up of three panels)

The apparent casualness of Margot Sanders’ painting In Fine Company belies the grandeur of her artistic influences.
Taking Courbet’s vast depiction of a mourning crowd, A Burial at Ornans, as well as Byzantine mosaics from Ravenna, as her starting points, Sanders’ work imbues the intimacy and informality of the painted sketch with the solemnity and classical formality of art of the past. Sanders’ conventional practice – a sitter, usually a friend or “possible crush” would sit in her bedroom with her while she painted them – gives her work its feeling of tender proximity; diverting from the domestic, In Fine Company presents a line-up of invented characters in an imagined school gym or ballet studio setting. That eye for the person seen at close hand is retained, though. Uncomfortable poses – hair being curled back over an ear, an awkward bunching of hands – gives the figures their sense of self-consciousness; these are characters that seem unwilling to be looked at, restlessly shifting their weight under the artist’s gaze. Sanders has said that another, less rarefied influence on this work is wedding photography, and that air of discomfort, of enforced jollity, is certainly captured here, but the airy and delicate palette suggests something more: the frail beauty of human bonds.

Text by Ben Street


Margot Sanders

The core focus of my practise is my interest in the body, a subject, I think translates well into paint. Drifting from man to woman and vice versa towards a metamorphosis with animals, identifying sexuality and gender. While I refer to animal as a symbol to identify the beast within us, it is also used to affiliate itself with the history of painting tradition such as battle scenes found through the likes of Baroque painters and deluge mythology like Noah’s Ark as seen with Francis Danby’s The Deluge, 1840. What remains a consistent back drop within my work is my relationship with painting and the figure. Whether I paint it or not, it will always be there and this in turn has evolved into other forms, it has manifested into a particular focus on clothing for example through the patterns and of textiles.


ROLLO Contemporary Art, ‘Paint’ Press Release

Sanders graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2008, and was awarded the Brenda Landon Pye Portrait Prize 2008. Sander’s works have been exhibited in London and Vienna. Exploring issues of sexuality and identity in her paintings Sanders creates hybrid characters of part human and animal form. In the most recent works presented in ‘Paint’ at ROLLO Contemporary Art, Sanders focus is on the body in the domestic, where the animal is
displaced to props such as soft toys, plastic animal masks and fur coats, presented as subtle indications of the human character. Applying thick oils with broad brush strokes, Sanders handling of flesh and skins gives a luscious feel, juxtaposed against flat background colours. Displaying confident mark making, rich colours are applied directly without hesitation or mixing. Sanders application of paint engages with the history of painting, showing influences of artists such as Goya and Ruben’s.