Grounded | Sarah Bedford

31 May 2024 – 14 Jul 2024

Regular hours

00:00 – 00:00
00:00 – 00:00
00:00 – 00:00
00:00 – 00:00
00:00 – 00:00
00:00 – 00:00
00:00 – 00:00

Free admission

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VITRINE Bermondsey

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Bus - number 78, 42 (direct) or number 17,21,35,37,40,43,47,48,133,141,343,381 are all five minute walk
  • Underground - ten minute walk from London Bridge station
  • Rail - ten minute walk from London Bridge station
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The first solo exhibition of Sarah Bedford in London, presented in collaboration with Mrs. New York, encompasses a series of new paintings, which are about inspiring hope in a dying natural world through the symbolic representation of floral hybrids.


The conceptual “seeds” of Bedford's paintings evolved from her decades-long work as a professional florist. These are exhibited within a large-scale site-specific floral wall painting filling the gallery walls. This is the fifth exhibition in VITRINE’s gallery collaboration programme in the Bermondsey, London, space.

Like an overgrown terrarium on a sunny windowsill, Sarah Bedford’s intimate floral paintings suggest botanical hybrids casting cosmic shadows of the universe. Loosely inspired by the British floral painter and botanist Cedric Morris and his densely populated floral arrangements from his gardens at Benton End, and the brooding floral prints from Robert Thornton’s 18th century Temple of Flora; Bedford draws flowers from memory - conjuring otherworldly depictions through an additive and intuitive painterly process in her Greenpoint, Brooklyn studio.

Along with her childhood wanderings in the plains and mountains of Montana, and having worked as a professional florist in New York for a decade, Bedford’s knowledge of life on the botanical margins is inherent. Bedford’s practice involves preliminary studies on paper, sketching onto canvas through loose washes of acrylic, layers of oil pastel and thin glazes of oil paint. Using a monochromatic palette of greens, lavender, hazy pinks and yellows, the artist playfully choreographs her floral forms into complex visual contortions. Similar to a trance or dance, Bedford’s flowers appear to move - twisting, turning lines with drooping floral heads bobbing within a clustered composition.

In this garden-like “vitrine,” Bedford casts her focus towards obscure Lilliputian flora normally found in isolated realms, emerging in late winter or early spring: trout lilies, shooting stars, bloodroot, and alpine forget-me-nots. Combining floral landscapes and semi-abstract still lives the artist offers a portal into and-out-of a seemingly rarified plant ecosystem of her own design, whereby Elysium fields bloom atop a feathery underworld of moths, fireflies, and caterpillars - crouching in dimly lit corners. Enhancing this sensory world, Bedford’s transparent use of color suggests luminescent flora in a primordial bloom, petals awaiting sunshine and cloud-like periwinkle pantaloons hovering over sleeping starlings — there is an invisible feeling of time ever changing.

One could consider each one of Bedford’s paintings as a self-contained biome; creating and providing for its own needs, independent of the world around it. Within a new landscape of regeneration, organic life flourishes — protected and self sustaining. Perhaps too, these paintings offer the wandering passersby a fleeting glimpse into a secret garden — and a quiet void to question our dynamic relationship to the nature that surrounds us.

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Sarah Bedford

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