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Damien, 2008 Mixed Media 60 X 49cm

82 Westbourne Grove
London W2 5RT
United Kingdom
April 17th, 2009 - May 16th, 2009
Opening: April 17th, 2009 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

notting hill, bayswater
+44 (0) 20 7221 1650
Monday-Saturday 11am to 7pm Sunday 12pm to 6pm
SaLon Gallery


SaLon Gallery presents a debut exhibition by Sarah Gwyer, Masquerade' open to the public from 17th April 2009, with a private view on 16th April 2009.


The faces that greet us each day on the cover of newspapers and magazines appear so familiar and yet really they are: strangers to us. The media presents us with these masked characters and their daily charade -what is it that makes these people so intriguing?

Whilst working in Accessorize and studying printmaking at Camberwell College of Art, 23 year old Gwyer had a sense that something was missing, the world was too flat and that ultimate beauty was yet to be created. Concentrating on this task Gwyer developed her concept of beaded portraits. After painting a base image in acrylic she individually sows on every bead by hand (approximately 1200 beads per piece) and each canvas takes around three weeks to complete. A self proclaimed hoarder she confesses to a studio covered with boxes and piles of beads whilst friends and family make regular deposits of discarded jewellery to bulk up her collection. Gwyer believes that society is now meritocratic and there is more opportunity than ever for people to make a name for themselves.

Her view of this egalitarian dream is represented through the materials she uses, "semi precious stones and crystals are nestled alongside broken plastics and chipped glass, each as important as the other, playing a game of abstraction and representation". It is important to Gwyer that she can make political and social comments without a loss in aesthetics or alienating a section of society.

The exhibition will consist of 7 digital lightboxes, 2 sculptures (Peaches Geldof, Amy Winehouse) and twenty beaded portraits in three series entitled ‘Addicts', ‘Artists' (including Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin) and ‘Best of British' (including Agyness Deyn, Vivienne Westwood, Cheryl Cole and Lily Allen).

A triptych light box portraying Diana and the two Princes, Kate Moss and Kate Middleton represents the concept of past, present and future. Gwyer insists that these characters receive as much adoration as any religious figure and are "the saints of the future". A soft halo effect emanates around the edges of the light box giving the figures a golden glow. This will go along side a lightbox of the four Beatles, cult figures worshipped by the public. Gwyer is questioning the longevity of celebrities from the past with the fleeting fame of today's celebrities - who will stand the test of time?

A series of ‘Addicts', sees the infamous characters we all know and love to judge brought to life in Gwyer's sensitive portraits.Pete Doherty and Russell Brand will sit alongside their partners in crime (a.k.a Moss and Winehouse) as pin-ups of our scandalloving society.

Notes to Editors.

  • Since its inception, SaLon Gallery has been wholly dedicated to promoting the work of talented graduates emerging from the UK's top art schools. Bi-monthly, SaLon Gallery showcases new works produced by a select group of intentionally bold and provocative artists. Samir Ceric is the curator and director of Salon Gallery which is located in the heart of London's famously stylish and bohemian Notting Hill district.


  • Born in 1985 and based in Gloucestershire Sarah Gwyer graduated from the University of Wales with a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art in 2007. She then went on to complete an MA in Print making Camberwell College of Art (2008). Her work has been shown in the ‘UK's Future Greats' show at White Box Gallery, New York (2008) and Welsh Artist of the Year, Cardiff (2007).