Sarah Detweiler’s Mixed-Media Portraits Disguise Figures In Swaths Of Fabric

An artist named Sarah Detweiler sets the stage with her evoking portraits beaming with unique themes and depictions. Her series ‘Hidden Mother’ draws from the Victorian-era portraits to stand out in the domain. They present women with their identity cloaked with fabric wrapping them. Not just that, they shimmer with vibrant hues to deliver the contentious ancient notion of femininity.


Some art pieces do not dwell on schemes of colors only. They evolve from the powerful themes and thoughts and evoke sentiments around them. They speak for the concealed and perturbing realities of society to churn a long-lasting change. With more progressive souls taking to the art world, these themes have found ground in everyday life. Taking that line, an artist named Sarah Detweiler has gone a long way in stirring sleeping souls and minds around.

Sarah does not shy away from looking at the contentious notions of femininity in the world around her. The often ignored labor of mothers pulls her heart towards them. Thus, to bring them into the light, she has come up with her art pieces. Going on that line, she has taken inspirations from 19th-century photography and Victorian-era portraits. She has managed to carve out a stunning portrayal of women in society.


The women in her portraits take the center without their children hanging around. They go behind the fabric and veil themselves in the best possible manner. Not just that, their identity also gets under the cover to reflect on their disguised reality. Shaping beautiful fabrics in her portraits, she makes use of a combination of oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolor, and embroidered elements. They go a long way in bolstering her intentions and narrative to a great extent.

Not just that, the subjects of her portraits also cherish a personal relationship with her. Thus, the Philadelphia-area artist manages to churn a wave of emotions and feeling with their cloaked identities. They come up in different postures to reflect on their side of the story and life. Hence, one can find an instant connection with the subjects. They manage to remind viewers of many women with their hidden identities in their life. Adding to that, they come up with elements that reflect on their domestic obligations in the portraits.


Their ordeal and exhaustion with never-ending chores come out strikingly in the portraits. One can take a stroll through them to catch the stirring bits. In “The Nightowl” (2021) (oil, embroidery thread, and yarn on canvas in a wood frame, 28 x 22 inches), one can see a woman clad in blue clothes with her back towards the viewers. She is escaping the eyes around her. The “Hide and Seek” (2021) (acrylic and embroidery thread on canvas with a wood frame, 20 x 16 inches) presents a woman wrapped in white fabric further hiding her face with her hands.

In the “Ghosts of Mothers Past” (2021) (oil, acrylic, embroidery thread on beveled edge canvas, 20 inches in diameter) one can see the women holding a conch with flame.


Reflecting on the theme, she has title her workers ‘Hidden Mother’. Shedding light on that, she shared, “In maintaining the anonymity preserves a universal relatability—the woman under the shroud could be you, your mother, your friend.” The series has made waves at the Paradigm Gallery.

To have more of her art, one can tune in to the social media platforms. One can also find these works providing a glimpse of her thoughts on Paradigm’s site.