A Portrait of Intimate Moments: A Look At Sydney Vernon’s Interior Lives At Philips@THEARC

Oluseyi Akinyode
2 min readMay 16, 2024

art exhibition review

Our lives are an amalgam of ordinary moments and significant events. Interior Lives, an exhibition featuring works by up-and-coming local artist Sydney Vernon at Philips@THEARC captures the subtleties and complexities of these experiences. Vernon was invited by Philips@THEARC to showcase her works in dialogue with Bonnard’s World, a retrospective of Pierre Bonnard’s body of work at the Phillips Collection.

This collaboration with Vernon is particularly fitting given her exposure to Bonnard’s work during her formative years and her ties to the area. The exhibition at Philips@THEARC is part of a wider initiative between The Phillips Collection and its partners to extend programs to communities and foster collaboration with local artists.

Sydney Vernon_Photo by Daniel Diasgranados

Interior Lives features six of Vernon’s drawings on paper, two in black and white and the rest in color. The artwork that drew me right in is Prinita in Park Slope Apt. It depicts a woman enjoying a cigarette by the window, her eyes closed in bliss. A loosely drawn curtain hangs over the window sill, framed by leaves from a nearby potted plant.

Although it’s a simple pencil sketch, it deftly conveys the essence of the fleeting moment, making it a striking piece. There is a sense we are privy to a glimpse because Vernon has captured it on paper. The paper’s serrated edge accentuates the moment’s brevity, almost as if the scene has been ripped from a snapshot of someone else’s life. The loose and fluid style of the drawing is ideally suited to the paper medium.

Sydney Vernon, Hide and Seek, 2024. Courtesy of the artist and Kapp Kapp

As a newcomer to Vernon’s work, I was curious about her choice of drawing as her primary medium over more traditional ones like paint. Vernon explained that paper is more accessible and conducive to jotting down ideas. She noted, “I can be on the train with my sketchbook and quickly sketch out an idea.” The immediacy of paper aligns well with her rapid and spontaneous creative process; she tends not to plan or overthink how a piece will unfold once she starts working on it.

It would be remiss to assume Vernon’s artistry revolves solely around elevating mundane moments to studies of contemplation. Continue Reading at DCTrending

This article was written with support from the DC Arts Writing Fellowship, a project of the non-profit Day Eight.

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Oluseyi Akinyode

Omo Naija | follower of Jesus | Kdrama fanatic | film & art lover | coffee addict | product enthusiast | getting lost to find myself