Surreal Paintings of Women Embody the Emotions of Nature and Inanimate Objects

Paintings of Women by Sarah Joncas

“Pond Dreams” (2019)

Artist Sarah Joncas uses a centuries-old narrative technique as the basis for her surrealist paintings that combine realistic portraiture with decorative motifs. The Toronto-based creative was inspired by the concept of “pathetic fallacy”—a literary term that attributes human traits and emotions to inanimate objects or animals. Through 21 portraits, she creates her own twist on this time-honored device. Her highly rendered depictions of women are punctuated with flattened elements of nature, and the paintings explore how the seemingly disparate elements become one—and what it means when they do.

Surrounding the ladies are the likes of abstracted butterflies, koi fish, tentacled creatures, foliage, and clouds. They mingle with the central figures—at times intimately intertwined—yet the women rarely acknowledge their presence. The result is beguiling, but it speaks to the overall goal of Joncas’ work. She invites you to “pause and perceive” the symbolism and deeper meaning present in each piece and to get lost in her painted worlds in the same way you would in a good book.

Joncas’ series has culminated in an aptly-titled show called Pathetic Fallacy that's now at the Hashimoto Contemporary in New York City. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, August 24, 2019.

Exploring the literary device of “pathetic fallacy,” artist Sarah Joncas combines realistic portraiture with decorative motifs.

Surrealist Painting by Sarah Joncas

“Anemone Dreams” (2019)

Surrealist Painting by Sarah Joncas

“A New Leaf” (2019)

Surrealist Painting by Sarah Joncas

“New Growth II” (2019)

Pathetic Fallacy by Sarah Joncas

“Tangled” (2019)

Paintings of Women by Sarah Joncas

“Tabitha Study” (2019)

Pathetic Fallacy by Sarah Joncas

“Pathetic Fallacy” (2019)

Pathetic Fallacy by Sarah Joncas

“New Growth” (2019)

Surrealist Painting by Sarah Joncas

“Midnight Blues” (2019)

Sarah Joncas: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Hashimoto Contemporary.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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