FROM HIGH FINANCE TO HIGH ART: THE WORK OF SARAH MEYOHAS
By Nicole Bray
What if an artist traded stocks online in a gallery and visualized the moves in the market on a canvas? What if an artist created a digital currency called Bitchcoin that was backed by photography assets at a fixed exchange rate of 1 Bitchcoin to 25 square inches of photographic print? What if the artist took over the desolate Bell Labs Holmdel Complex and hired temps to pick tens of thousands rose petals to be captured as digital data? This is a mere sampling of the artwork created by the phenomenal Sarah Meyohas.
Meyohas was born and raised in New York, and she’s not your typical artist. At 24 years old, she has a finance degree from Wharton and started out by taking the precedential path of interning with Distressed Private Equity and Hedge Fund firms while in college. However, after completing a photographing class, her love for the arts was sparked and snowballed into her applying to Yale to complete her MFA.
Meyohas’s practice examines how we conceive value, understand value, and how it’s represented, traversing the world of finance and art. Her project Stock Performance 2016, comprised of her trading stocks online chosen subjectively based on their name or industry, with the goal of moving the stock price to see a visual change. Once the price moved, Meyohas would take an oil stick and draw from memory the movements of the stock onto a canvas.
Sarah Meyohas (b. 1991), Stock Performance 2016. Installation views. Courtesy the artist and 303 Gallery.
She started out by trading Paradise Inc., and the broker called her up to tell her she was the only person in Paradise. Ultimately, she made the stock move by fully one-third of its market cap. Then she moved onto Patriot National Bancorp, whereby with each trade the lines did not move and the parallelism was subsequently reinforced on the canvas.
Next up was Neuromama, an $8 billion company that trades on the pink sheets. To Sarah, this stock seemed questionable since it’s a relatively unknown Russian search engine. She brought the stock price down by 13% and magically, at the end of the day someone pushed it right back up to where it was before she traded it. Another was Pope Resources. She pushed the Pope stock price between $61 and $65.5 three times, which, for a $300 million market cap company, is quite significant. As Sarah continued, the empty canvases on the gallery wall became filled with visual representations of value, exchange, and causality.
Meyohas confirmed, that upon completion of her gallery show the brokerage firms that she was trading through “broke up with her” and closed her accounts without explanation. Now, she has plans to turn these break-up letters into a new project.
Photography has a special place in Sarah’s heart and has stayed with her throughout her process. Speculation, a fine art photography series utilizes two-way mirrors to explore the constant exchange between light and subject matter. Again, we can see the themes of exchange, value, and reflection in her work. Sarah explains, “the notion of infinity and the void, ones and zeros, have always interested me”. Combining this with soft, feminine subject matter she creates luscious and desirable photographic abstractions.
Sarah Meyohas (b. 1991), Blue and Pink, 2016. Courtesy the artist.
Sarah Meyohas (b. 1991), Blue Smoke, 2016. Courtesy the artist.
Sarah Meyohas (b. 1991), Red Petals, 2016. Courtesy the artist.
Sarah Meyohas (b. 1991), Pink with Yellow, 2016. Courtesy the artist.
Meyohas’s latest film project Clouds of Petals, to be exhibited in 2017, documents her four days in Bell Lab’s with a team of male temps and 10,000 roses of different colors and variety. Each day the men sat at stations picking and photographing each petal to produce a digital data set, totaling approximately 100,000. The perfect petals were then kept and pressed, approximately 3,200. The digital images of rose petals, petals turned into pixels, will live on in perpetuity while the actual decompose. The potential for this data to be reproduced in exponential ways, such the realm of virtual reality, film or photography is endless.
Sarah Meyohas (b. 1991), 10,000 Roses, 2016. Courtesy the artist.
Meyohas effortlessly combines the grit of finance, value and exchange with the feminine softness of flowers, the body and mythology to generate an undeniable presence of soft power. Sarah’s undying curiosity, astounding intellect, and eye for beauty will ensure she has a place in prominent collections as she continues throughout her career.
For inquiries about Sarah’s work please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
artREAL contributor Nicole Bray is the founder of Mercer Contemporary and guides private and corporate clients through each step of acquiring, selling, managing, and displaying artwork. She received her Masters in Contemporary Art (Hons.) from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York. She was the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Emerging Curator Fellowship 2015, and has worked at both an Auction House and for a distinguished private family. If you would like to contact Nicole, or if you are interested in starting your own collection, please email her at email@example.com or visit www.mercercontemporary.com.