Artist Statement


My subject matter of choice is anything to do with the human experience. My media of choice is currently paint. In the past my works have, also, been preoccupied with other forms of two dimensional mark making inclucing collage. Many of these collage pieces implemented positive mark making in which i painted, drew, drew or attached materials on the surfaces or negative mark making in which I erased and left traces of the marks. Today, I primarily focus on the way colour and expression convey meaning in the face.

Living in various countries and cultures has had a profound effect on my work. Much of my degree work was a collection and retrospection of my Asian experience. I utilised many techniques from Chinese wall and propoganda paintings from the Cultural Revolution. This continued on into my CAP Foundation art works in which I was concerned with abstract symbols/characters taken from Chinese calligraphy and brush painting. I, then, became interested in Irish pub culture, a very important aspect of Irish life. I used strong colour and gesture to convey the liveliness of the Irish living experience. (The mark making and paint work was not unlike that of Jack B. Yeats.) The work I have created upon moving to the United States has focused on the individual, the portrait and how, when combined, they make up a community. I have been looking at many painters of the human figure and face such as Chuck Close, Lucian Freud, and Jenny Saville. Most of my subjects have included family, friends and coworkers.


My name is Saralene Tapley. I am an Irish-American artist of 31 years of age. I have been living in Houston, Texas for the last three and a half years. I moved to Texas from Europe where I lived in Dublin, Ireland for 9 years and London, England for 1 year. I finished my BFA in Dublin’s National College of Art and Design. Upon moving to Texas, I completed my Masters in Arts and Humanities at University of Houston – Clear Lake.

My childhood was very colourful. I lived in the United States until I was eleven and then moved to Taiwan and Korea where I finished secondary school. I still maintain relationships with my childhood friends even though many of them are spread around the globe. (Most of the schools that I attended were international.) I have 2 brothers and 1 sister. My two brothers are some of my best patrons. My older brother, Matthew, owns a wine bar called Vino, in Montreal, where quite a few of my works are featured. I also have murals and paintings hanging in various pubs and hotels in Dublin. Noel Pearson, the Irish film director, is also one of my collectors.

I must attribute most of my interest in art to my parents that have been very encouraging of my career path, despite it’s many hardships. Most of my training as a child came from my mother, from Wisconsin, who is a very talented artist and teacher in her own rite. I spent most of my childhood watching her draw portraits of local families and taking many of her art classes. My father, from Dublin, Ireland, is a talented carpenter and engineer, and has been very generous with his wood working skills creating many frames and hanging devices for my exhibitions.

What I enjoy most about working in the arts is that I can continuously reinvent my artwork. There are many mediums to explore and subjects to discover. I also enjoy seeing other artists work and comparing and learning from different ideas and forms of visual language. When I am away from the creative process for too long, I feel as though I am losing my purpose. With practise, one can only mature and get better.