Appalachia-based artist Sarah Moore was born in Marietta, GA in 1987 and lives and works in Knoxville, TN. She earned a Master of Architecture degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 2012, and was a Danforth Scholar for the duration of her study there—an honor which recognized personal integrity, selflessness, and a commitment to community. Sarah also holds a B.A. in Architecture from Clemson University, where she was an Abney Foundation Scholar from 2005-2009.
Sarah has traveled to 27 countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North and South America, and has lived briefly in Argentina, India, Israel, Nepal, Spain, and Thailand. Through her travels, she has sought to understand the commonalities that span cultures, from the delight of spending time with people to our innate need to connect with nature.
Sarah is also Communications and Marketing Manager for Active Living By Design, a nonprofit that advances community-led action and proven, place-based strategies to ensure health and well-being for all.
My work explores the landscapes that I physically yearn to inhabit, again and again, as if by compulsion. These are unsettled places, rough and wild with high topographic contrast. Each painting is a response to intense wanderlust. The paintings also evoke a sense of urgency: no landscape remains unaltered by time, and increasingly so, by human impact. To paint a landscape is to visit it again, or for the first time, or to know it in a more intimate way.
The human reaction to landscape is necessarily physical, and often emotional. The landscapes to which we are instinctively drawn are also an extension of our interior emotional landscapes. I have heard people from Kansas, who are used to the expansive freedom of the plains, describe how the mountains make them feel hemmed-in, claustrophobic. And I have heard people from the mountains of Appalachia say that the plains make them feel exposed and unprotected. They love the mountains because they offer a safe embrace.
By drawing on motifs observed in the landscapes of 27 countries I've visited, my paintings are rooted in reality and morphed by memory, allowing inevitable inaccuracies to both create and erase information. A sense of movement suggests ephemerality and impermanence. Like memories, the paintings dart from detail to detail amidst a deconstructed and abstract context. Unexpected objects, snatched from forgetting, find themselves nestled in the paintings like wayfinding tokens.
I am motivated by a longing to see these places, walk them, breathe them, while I can. While I last and while they last. Because the loss of a landscape is not just that; it is also a loss of a piece of ourselves. When we lose landscapes, we lose access to the parts of our psyche that are shaped by these places.