Since her debut exhibition Further Afield (Barnard, Cape Town, 2015) Sarah Biggs has maintained an on-going fascination with the relationship between the human subject and the natural world, with each new body of work seeing a new evolution, expansion, or reimagining of this relationship, this inter-dependence. In Further Afield she presented small figures overwhelmed by vast landscapes in order to explore the dynamic relationship field researchers have to the land they survey, finding a wry humour in the way these figures seek to measure the immeasurable, in the unavoidable intrusion of subjectivity into objective pursuits. In Waiting for Rain (Barnard, Cape Town, 2017) the artist zoomed in on these figures and expanded the contemplation of this subjectivity, presenting closer portraits of scientists and field researchers, observing the tenderness as well as the uncertainty involved in their search for meaning. Biggs’ new body of work, Gathering Dust (Barnard, Cape Town, 2019), pushes even further into that subjectivity, inviting the viewer not to observe others searching, but to embody the search themselves. The exhibition represents a daring shift from observation to immersion, from macro to micro, from knowing to feeling.
Biggs graduated with distinction from the Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2013 where she was awarded the Judy Steinberg Award for Painting. In 2015 she won the TASA Award, presented annually, by the Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg and the Sylt Foundation in Germany to an emerging artist living in South Africa. This award takes the form of a two-month residency at the Sylt Foundation’s headquarters on the island of Sylt, Germany that the artist undertook in 2016.
Barnard has presented the artist’s paintings at both local and international art fairs including the Investec Cape Town Art Fair (2015-2019), AKAA (Also Known as Africa), Paris (2017-2018) and the Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg (2016). In 2017 her limited edition book Waiting for Rain, published by Barnard, was added to the Thomas J. Watson library collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.