Sara Vargas Nessi is a fine artist with a background in theatre who captures natural light and shadows in her paintings. She is originally from Venezuela, where she began her art journey performing in plays for eight years and studying Arts at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. In 2016, she graduated from Fine Arts Studio at Centennial College. Since then, she has created impactful images with paint, sunlight, and shadows. She is persistently taking inspiration from themes like time, nature, movement, and ephemerality in her art practice. Sara’s work has been shown as installations, group, and solo exhibitions.
Due to her background in theatre, ephemerality is at the core of her art. She has been working on her ongoing project called "Shadows", bringing attention to the small things in life using natural light and shadows.
Sara’s first solo exhibition was in 2016, showing the first edition of "Shadows" at the Runnymede Public Library in Toronto. The project grew and has been adapted into several exhibitions such as "Sunlight" as well as into installations like "Light Source" (2018), a two-story installation mural measuring approximately 22’ tall and 95’ long located at the lobby of Centennial College- Story Art Centre, and "Memories" (2022), a three-layer art installation shown at the 2022 Nuit Blanche Toronto.
Her public art proposal based on her Shadows project was shortlisted in 2022 for a downtown Toronto building, 481 University, United BLDG. The proposal consisted of producing a series of 9 digital images of sizes 17"x60" to be displayed along the colonnade of the entrance of the building.
She was selected to participate in the 2023 RBC Emerging Artist Network one-year program with The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery for professional development in the arts. She is a mentor for FAS students at Centennial College and a graduate FAS program advisor.
The constant concepts behind my art are nature, beauty, and ephemerality. Through images showing my paintings under light and shadow silhouettes, viewers are invited to look beyond and discover that something as simple as a shadow can hold extraordinary value and beauty.
My ongoing project, Shadows, combines traditional art as paint on canvas, digital photographs and nature represented by light and shadows. Shadows are viewed in my art as challenges that are part of our journey, an everyday element we take for granted but hold value and beauty, and a symbol of ephemerality.
I use mixed media for my paintings, and the colour palette is inspired by hues found in nature, mainly in flora, and sunsets. When the weather condition is optimal, I set the finished paintings under direct sunlight and start designing the shadow silhouettes for the images. Using found and created objects like cut-outs, I compose the images and capture them with a digital camera so these unique moments in time are not lost and can be witnessed by others.
Due to my background in theatre, ephemerality is at the core of my art. I know well that a play only lives for the duration of the performance when it is witnessed live by an audience. The question arises, are these moments lost if they are not captured forever?
The images of Shadows are visual poems that bring you back to the present moment and invite you to appreciate the beauty of the simple things that surround you every day. Just like small plays happening all around waiting to be noticed, Shadows become the stage or magnifying glass that allows the performances to be seen.
Shadows have been interpreted in different mediums, from large prints to art installations. Always with the concept of bringing attention to the small things in life using natural light and shadows as part of the paintings as reminders of what is always present around, but many times oversee.