“village elders”, oil on sailcloth, 170x350cm, 2020

London-based artist, born in Scotland, Sammy Dent, has grown up painting and making things all her life.

Having done a diploma in pattern cutting and tailoring in London, (1984-85) Sammy’s love of textiles still feeds into her works, including the appliqués she makes and stitched canvases.

She attended the Art Students League, NY, (1994) followed by the Chelsea School of Art and a degree in Fine Art at Central St Martins (1995-99).

A decade later she returned to NY to live in Long Island for four years where she continued to paint and have a solo exhibition.

“Ms. Dent’s large, vibrant canvases carry on the tradition of abstract expressionism, with its reliance on spontaneous gesture and its avoidance of representational imagery.

“The paintings recall those of Helen Frankenthaler, who, like Ms. Dent contrasts translucent areas of stained pigment with thick calligraphic strokes and linear elements to create forms that float in pictorial space.

“Although Ms. Dent describes her aim as achieving a balance between the figurative and the abstract, references to specific subject matter are minimized to the point of dissolution. Her primary subject is color itself, which may or may not coalesce into recognizable objects…

“Whether their titles explain or obscure their meanings, Ms Dent’s paintings can be enjoyed without the benefit of such intimations. Their appeal lies in the gestural verve and the artist’s love of chromatic interplay, resulting in imagery that alludes to nature while seldom picturing it.”

Helen A. Harrison, New York Times

“I look for my subject matter, or sometimes it finds me, in the natural world, in blooms and flowers in their dying glory, I draw from the human form sketched and painted in the life room. Being spontaneous to the unexpected, provokes me to look further, such as found objects on beaches and in parks, often my creative energy generates from music, fashion and the occasional soul touching-poem.

“I cannot do justice to these subjects, nor can I replicate them, and I have no desire to replicate, only a need to convey the emotion that goes beyond words of how it feels to be amongst all of this.

“When it comes to the application of colours in their fluid and gooey forms onto an already stained, stitched or marked canvas, I don’t feel restricted by convention or material.

“I use a variety of mediums and techniques, using hands, rags, vessels, brushes, rubbing, sanding, drawing and pouring. The mixing and discovery of different mediums, textures and pigments, the rejuvenation of a congealed obscure colour in a discarded paint pot bringing new possibilities and unintentional finds feed into this tactile cacophony of colour and how it lands on the canvas, from the shake in the hand to the twist in the brush, the pressure applied, the speed, the amount, the shapes, the thickness, the opaqueness, all harnessed in thinking, but not thinking, moments of joy, pain and sometimes magic.”

Sammy has exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and The Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition, and at BBC House, Price Waterhouse, The Chelsea Arts Club and Port Washington Public Library, New York, and had residencies at Garlieston, Dumfries and Galloway (May 2023) and Can Tortuga, Majorca (October 2023).