In her work, Sarah Churlish explores the potential for painting to mimic reality, as she aims to momentarily deceive the viewer into thinking that the presented objects are an actuality, when in fact they are paintings. This realisation provokes questions of authenticity in the viewer, and by re-presenting everyday imagery in everyday situations, she is challenging the viewer’s assumptions of reality. Initially it appears that there is no real reason for the sincerity of the objects to be questioned, but on closer inspection their true materiality becomes apparent.
By painting these everyday objects onto furniture and combining them with real versions of themselves, Churlish intends to set up the possibility for surprise. The relationship between the real and the artifice initially misleads the viewer, capturing their curiosity and thus provoking intrigue. It is this discovery of the painting that is the focus of her work.
The familiarity of the objects intends to draw the viewer’s attention to the idea of the overlooked and how we as a society don’t pay attention to the objects we use in our everyday lives. We assume their reality and often do not take the time to actually see them, so by prompting a realisation in these two-dimensional paintings, Churlish is forcing us into a new awareness of our surroundings.
The work itself draws upon the tradition of trompe l’oeil, as the paintings move further towards reality and provide an inquisition into illusionary representation. The perceptions of dimension are challenged making this work playful and often unintentionally, on the viewer’s behalf, interactive.