Sahara Longe Joins Timothy Taylor

5 April 2022

Timothy Taylor is delighted to announce the representation of British artist Sahara Longe (b. 1994, London, UK). The gallery will present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Longe at Frieze London 2022 this October.

Combining atmospheric naturalism with vivid, velvety panes of colour, Longe’s lifelike portraits combine the strength and gravitas of an Old Master with a deep sense of psychological disquiet. Often portrayed frozen in action, with oblique expressions and posed in cryptic social arrangements, they embody a clear sense of narrative mystery that crystallises in brief, compelling moments of ambiguity, in which the painting becomes a vehicle for subtle emotional angst. A character in garish vermilion red stares into the distance with an air of palpable sadness; a party scene suggests an awkward pas-de-trois. ‘I want my work to be full of stories,’ Longe says of her work. ‘To amuse myself with some little secret or plot, a character who imprints themselves on your memory. It’s more interesting for things to be not quite clear.’

In Longe’s oil-on-jute portraits, lush rose pinks and verdant greens glow and flare like lamps against black-brown ground. Her careful juxtaposition of ancient and contemporary techniques emerges from her long study of Old Master palettes and structural composition, ranging from the grand portraiture of Anthony van Dyck to the intuitive anatomical elements seen in John Singer Sargent. Using technical skills forgotten by time, such as the use of rare pigments or Canada balsam glaze to imitate the soft-focus texture of flesh, she has built a singularly assured aesthetic: both luminous and discomfiting, building on references from an out-of-print line of Agatha Christie murder mysteries to the exact green palette used by Gauguin.

Yet Longe’s black subjects, drawn from family and friends, subtly subvert these traditions even as they pay them homage. Endowed with the storytelling presence of narrators and subjects in their own right, her monumental figures provoke powerful questions about the absence of non-white figures in the Western canon of portraiture.

‘Sahara Longe conjures up lost languages of painting with an emotional intensity that feels particular to our time. Her remarkable ability to step out of one history and into another is the hallmark of a great artist who is only just beginning. We are delighted to begin working with her and supporting her burgeoning career.’ – Timothy Taylor

Sahara Longe (b. 1994, London, UK) is a British-Sierra Leonean artist who lives and works in South London. She studied at Charles H. Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy and attended the Great Women Artists residency at the Palazzo Monti in October 2021. Longe’s work is held in significant collections in the UK and the USA, including The Bunker Artspace – Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection; The Simon Nixon Collection; and The Zabludowicz Collection. Recent group and solo exhibitions include the Annual Art Icon, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2022); Beyond Bloomsbury: Life, Love and Legacy, York Art Museum, York, UK (2022); Sahara Longe: The Fall of Man, Ed Cross, London, UK; and IRL (In Real Life), Timothy Taylor, London (2021). Longe’s next solo exhibition will take place at Deli Gallery, Brooklyn, NY in September 2022.

For additional information, please contact:
Anna Campbell | | +44 7471 994476