Current Work/ Research since 2018
Sarah is currently exploring the potential of abstract narratives using a range of approaches in contemporary drawing, with the subject of the work broadly referencing anthropic entropy. The research mission is currently located in the following areas:
- The potential of drawing, as a post-medium artistic strategy, to develop imagery that relates to particular socio-political conditions
- The development of imagery that becomes codified through repetition and the development of motifs
- Narrative potential as an emerging factor of method
Work/ Research 2015 - 2017
Mediated experiences of the landscape are informing current research in the studio, using related photographic and film imagery - sampling images from a documentary film by Grant Lee called 'Patience (After Sebald)'. Using projection as a starting point, the imagery goes through a set of material processes to generate large-scale works on paper (ink and gesso). My interest in this particular film is the narrative drive, from multiple viewpoints and the flow of accompanying images, that unfolds a melancholic and poetic reading of Sebald’s work The Rings Of Saturn; a book that uses a rhizomatic method to ponder manifold ideas (historical/ cultural/ fictional) and their consequences, through the journey of a long walk on the Suffolk/ Norfolk Coastline. It is the multiple visual interpretations of this iconic book that particularly interest me: The development and production of another work (the film itself) as a result of this reading and the growth of one artefact from another. Appropriation is a method that I use in the production of initial imagery (a method that I consider similar to sampling in music) – but that is then pushed through a transformative method where materials and processes become determinate in the resulting imagery.
Some of the developing ideas in the work consider the (desire but) impossibility of withdrawing from the cultural world; ideas that interplay with a sense of passive inactivity of watching (or trying not to look at) contemporary cultural events unfold. The work employs imagery that includes boats and chairs, which act as motifs for leisure or domesticity, rest or survival. The unfolding events in Europe, the Syrian refugee crisis and human migration generally, have had a bearing on the development of imagery, but the politics of the work are deliberately indirect, the mood melancholic, using a scattered non-sequential approach to developing composition. The work attempts to explore a set of conditions driven by desire and guilt, where associative imagery can be ambiguous depending on who and where you are - and the contexts of chance.
Work 2013 - 2015
During this period Sarah's work was operating in relation to geometric abstraction. There are other suggestions and references in the work though, that point to different contextual meanings, from impossible landing strips to glacial models - and figurative references are suggested often in the titling of work. Forms, with interior/ exterior dislocation and masses, made up of platforms, lines and folds – all appear unburdened by the spatial rules of gravity. Situations, places and objects that are real and imagined, appropriated and invented, find their way into the genesis of these paintings. An image in the landscape, a frame in a film or the music in the studio on any given day might also alter the shape or colour that a painting takes. Compressing ideas and forms as a means of getting from a world of experience and representation, to the plastic world of painting, is the main driver behind this working methodology.
Work 2008 - 2013
Sarah has also worked with figurative elements, often using animal imagery, where suggestion and ambiguity have been narrative drivers. The work attempts to absorb and transform some of the world’s dangers and absurdities, with a focus on power relationships and stature. However, within this visual language, human beings have not entirely been trusted to deliver a message. Anthropomorphism and hybridisation have therefore been vehicles of transformation, to pose questions about ethical ideas and scenarios that relate back to human cultures. Working directly from taxidermy (2008/ 2011-12) or found images (2008-13), appropriation continues to play a large part in Sarah’s working methods. Film, music and the conventions of horror and the uncanny are also influential to her practice. Since 2013 Sarah’s work has concentrated on an exploration of the types of spaces that the characters in her paintings might have inhabited – but where they themselves are now absentees. These new works, although having the look of abstraction, are still drawn from similar sources – but where there is now an emphasis on their architecture and environment, over and above their narrative potential. The lynchpin ideas that Sarah works with remain a constant: That it is not at all clear where (or when) we are meant to be (in the work and in reality) is an essential component.