An activist and environmentalist, Sabraw’s paintings, drawings and collaborative installations are produced in an eco-conscious manner, and he continually works toward a fully sustainable practice. He collaborates with scientists on many projects, and one of his current collaborations involves creating paint and paintings from iron oxide extracted in the process of remediating polluted streams. This sustainably sourced pigment is now for sale as a 3 tube set from Gamblin Artists Colors.
Sabraw is a Professor of Art at Ohio University where he chairs the Painting + Drawing and Digital Art + Technology programs and is Board Advisor at Scribble Art Workshop in New York. He has most recently been featured in TED, Smithsonian, New Scientist, London, Great Big Stories, Business Insider, and Time. The McCormick Gallery has represented Sabraw for 20+ years.
“My abstract explorations focus on natural phenomena, the earth’s ecosystem as a whole, and our role within that. This understanding has led me to incorporate ever more sustainable practices in my studio, in my life, and when possible actively engaging the public on the matter.
In this body of work, painstaking painting methods are coaxed into interacting and amalgamating over durations of up to several months. The result is complex, luminous, mysterious paintings that strike a beautiful balance between controlled and organic processes.
These works primarily use water-based paints, dry pigments, and other media. Pigment manufacturers and types are chosen with permanency and sustainability in mind. This goal is more attainable now since I have been partnering with Ohio University engineer Dr. Guy Riefler to develop paints with pigments derived from toxic runoff from abandoned coal mines – acid mine drainage or AMD for short.” – John Sabraw
Image: Hydro Chroma S1 4, acid mine pigments, acrylic on aluminum panel, 2022, 44 x 44 inches