I’m a Seattle based visual artist who makes artwork about place.
PAINTING & DESIGN
BIOI am a Seattle based visual artist born into a family of DIYers, makers, and nature lovers in 1970s rural Ohio. I came to Seattle from NYC with a BFA and burnout from waiting tables, seeking a new vocation via grad school in urban planning. Urban planning unexpectedly turned my art practice inside out, away from studio work and towards outdoors, community, and the life of the street.
A complete CV is here.
STATEMENTI create large scale public projects that call attention to ecological processes and human relationships with place. My practice engages simultaneously with the landscape, community, and material, existing within multiple fields. The resulting work challenges western art world expectations of permanence and takes function, tradition, and craft into a dialogue about public space and social engagement.
My work often uses ephemeral materials, European and US folk building / making traditions, and current ecosystem science to contemplate the future and heal our wounded relationships with the natural world. At a time when industry and capitalism have reduced our understanding of the natural world to one that is extractive and simplistic, I want to re-insert complexity, reciprocity, and imagination. I seek a modern interpretation of pre-industrial ecological awareness, one that is tied to the land and bound by seasonality, availability of resources, and communal labor. I’m also influenced by “women’s work” – the sewing, quilting, knitting, weaving, basketmaking, hair braiding that is created relatively anonymously, in community; slowly accreting with the repetition of many small gestures.
Curatorial, cultural organizing, and social engagement are an intentional and significant part of the work. The work - and the entire process of creating it - is a gateway through which healing can happen, gently nudging people away from a hard-edged, technocratic, and guilt-ridden interpretation of ecology to one that is restorative and imaginative.
Public space is contested space, and it is necessary to hold space for those who have been marginalized, who labor unseen, who keep cultural traditions alive, and who have been made to feel unwelcome. Much of my work functions as stage and/or gathering space, and I often dedicate physical space, time, and budget to other artists or community groups to activate the work, and to claim and enjoy these spaces.
This work is designed to grow, decay, and change. Witnessing these changes - where the unexpected often happens - paradoxically brings us closer to nature. As inspiring as it is to see artwork that is part of the landscape, it is strangely soothing and exciting to witness nature defying human intent.
CONTACTsarah at gogoweb dot com