Sarah Van Vliet
Sarah Van Vliet was born in April 1992, in New Jersey. She currently resides in Morristown, NJ and is an artist and an art educator in the North Plainfield Public School system. From an early age she found an interest in creating art, building her skills throughout her high school career. Sarah graduated from Monmouth University with a BA in Art Education and is currently attending William Paterson University for her MFA.
My work is inspired by my emotions and events that have affected me personally. I explore the emotional impact of toxic male masculinity on the female psyche in relationships and life. My style incorporates both surrealistic and macabre imagery. I am fascinated with the physical and metaphysical masks we wear in society. A mask's purpose is to conceal or to protect. It can conceal your identity (physical), or it can conceal your true self (metaphysical). The gas mask has become a key icon in a lot of my recent work. The gas mask is a barrier between the toxicity of societal norms and classic heterocentric tropes and the female psyche. In a lot of my work the figure is painted wearing the mask while the rest of the body is exposed. The mask represents the emotional walls built off the foundations of poor choices, desire and lust. The body is presented as open to sensual experiences, while the identity of the figure is closed off and unwilling to show the viewer who they really are. While the act of hiding behind a mask, or metaphysical mask may seem protective, overtime this mentality infects and pollutes one’s own psychological health. The character I have created is stuck between her sensuality and her ability to trust, open up, and reveal her true self. My work is meant to empower the female body and make you think about the emotional impact toxic male masculinity has on the female population.