Artist Sarah Jones has been busy making posts, making art with posts, making art out of posts, there’s something very spiritual about her posts, I feel a great need to quietly walk around one of her posts, I love the way the they just stand there in the sunshine, I love the tactile qualities of those wooden posts, the way they’re made, the way they fit together. Sarah is an artist currently based in Malvern, Worcestershire, we’re delighted to have some images of her work in the latest Cultivate Mixtape on-line exhibition, we really need to have a piece standing in the middle of a gallery sometime soon so we can all meet and walk around it. Sarah’s recent piece, Post Climate Stripes, referencing #showyourstrips and the work of Ed Hawkins, is a particularly powerful piece
To tie in with the opening of Mixtape No.2, we subjected Sarah to the Thirteen Questions thing. Once again, those twelve generic questions we ask artists to answer, as well as that special thirteenth one…
1 WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
I’m Sarah and I live as an artist in Worcestershire where I’m constantly re-inventing myself and my work. I am currently working with wooden posts.
2 WHERE ARE YOU TODAY? WHERE ARE YOU MOST DAYS?
Today I’m sitting at the computer in the corner of my bedroom answering these questions which I find difficult. Most other days I’m constructing post homages in my self-built studio at the bottom of the garden.
3 WHO OR WHAT IS EXCITING YOU RIGHT NOW?
I’m immersing myself in the season of Samhain when the veil is thin between this world and the spirit world. I’ve been sitting with Yew trees breathing in the powerful medicine of death and rebirth. I have some Yew and Holly wood in the studio just waiting… I’ve just been blown away by the film ’The Banshees of Inisherin’ see it if you can… the beauty of darkness, the darkness of niceness and animals that call to the soul. Have also been reacquainting myself with the work of Oehlen and his interest in combining sound and image. I’m interested in the tension between free expression and constraint and loved his exhibition at the Serpentine a few years ago.
4 WHY DO YOU MAKE ART?
It connects me back to my ancient roots. Reminds me the world is mysterious and magical, deeply beautiful and bountiful. The act of creating heals me and somehow makes sense of what I see and can offer up to others. It has the power to create a sacred space in which to slow down and open our senses. If this possibility did not exist, I would surely curl up in a ball and give up. I believe art can act as an antidote to many of the negative energies in the world.
5: HOW DO YOU WORK?
I’m learning with my current post work to get out the way and let the objects themselves speak. Having said that of course I am constantly making decisions – tweaking , colouring, slicing and altering the wood and paint I work with so really that’s partly bullshit but it is a game I’m consciously playing . I spend a lot of time staring at these objects trying to catch a glimpse of the next move ……. Will it be humorous or banal or a portrait or a social commentary – I let the post lead the way. These posts have their own individual characters which over time reveal themselves and I happily work alongside them.
6: TELL US ABOUT THE ART YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH?
This is a difficult question to answer as my interests and what moves me is so varied and emotionally driven. At the moment I identify with art that you can dive into – maybe large and all-encompassing, something you want to move toward and be changed by the encounter. Colour is always central to my work and of huge sensory importance to me and so I get entranced by colour as I do with sound. So large paintings that knock your socks off, a Bridget Riley or a mural by Chagall where the colour is felt. Or maybe an installation or expanded painting that shows a new space where you perceive the world differently, I’m thinking of Katherina Grosse’s work. I’m a big fan of Phyllida Barlow, her work leaves me laughing inside and moved by the beauty of broken, tottering, strong fragility. I also search for moments of stillness or spiritual uplift which I experience with Agnes Martin, Rothko or the contemporary artist Betsy Bradley.
7: WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR OWN WORK?
I like the simplicity of the modular components which have infinite possibility, like threading and rethreading the beads of a necklace when you’re a child. All the combinations of shape, size colour, texture. I love their totemic, still upright nature just waiting to be seen and touched. I enjoy the alchemy of upcycling of old utilitarian posts into things of beauty and uselessness. I also like the link between the word post and the object. As soon as the prefix post is used it becomes a time-based piece, time and colour go together well like bread and butter. Posts mark places and identify specifics. But mostly these posts are anchors in a fast and unpredictable world.
8: WHAT DO YOU DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR OWN WORK?
The physical difficulty of creating it, lifting heavy wood and slicing it with my ageing weakening hands and wrists.
9: WHAT HAS BEEN THE HAPPIEST MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE SO FAR?
When I genuinely want for nothing and am at peace with myself and the world.
10: WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY?
My own and others inability to trust our innate wisdom and grow from it.
11: WHICH SUPERPOWER WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE AND WHY?
The superpower of Invisibility, to be able to observe the world without being seen. Feeling free to respond with an invisible dance or song.
12: WHAT COULDN’T YOU DO WITHOUT?
Good health, friends, tea and toast
13: WHAT IS IT ABOUT POSTS?
POSTS, POSTS and more POSTS please. It may sound strange, but I have discovered a deep love of posts of all descriptions. The more post forms I see the more aha!!! it becomes. Even the word post has become like a mantra to me. Post art, post war, post-menopausal, posterior, to post something and on and on it goes in my mind each post bringing vividly to life a question or answer to something.
The post exploration was ignited when I discovered the artist Andre Cadere who trained as an abstract painter in Bucharest and moved over to his coloured bars – Barre de bois round “round bar of wood” while being ignored by the art world in Paris in the 1970’s. As an act of defiance he created these coloured wooden bars that he carried over his shoulder wherever he went, to the park, to the cafe and often left leaning at the exit of other artists exhibitions. He then sold them with a certificate of all the places they had been. I made a series of pieces based on Cadere’s bars using colours taken from colour palettes of artists I was inspired by (see Strip Tease) paintings and this in time led to my post homages.
The very first post homage I made, from an old partly rotten fence post that had been proping up an apple tree in the garden, I fell in love with. I think this is my criteria – I must fall in love with it then it is anchored in love. The post has become my ‘support’ for my ideas and observations. I am on a roll creating many pieces and as more arrive it feels like I am creating an unlikely community who really want to be seen and touched.
My post discovery happened during lockdown when I lost my parents who were both abstract painters, so they are alchemical by nature marking the passage between death and rebirth. Having painted myself and being born into a family of painters, I see these posts as a form of expanded painting.
UPCOMING EVENTS FOR 2023
Post Installation planned for 2023 at Adhisthana Buddhist Centre, Coddington, Herefordshire – a series of posts based on the concept of reflecting impermanence. A central striped post will support a series of colours that reflect the changing colours of the seasons. Slices of post will have a ceremonial re-painting at intervals over a one year period, reflecting the surrounding colour palette. http://www.adhisthana.org/
ATELIER MULUSINE SW France is delighted to host British contemporary artist Sarah Jones in April and May of 2023 with her exhibition ‘The Potency of Union’. Jones’s expanded painting practice is beautiful, bold and playful. She will produce a series of site specific pieces at the ATELIER MELUSINE and at LA FORGES France as part of a six week residency culminating in a series of events around the festival of Beltane, 01 May 2023
Worcestershire Open Studios here in my studio – dates to be confirmed but usually takes place over the last bank holiday WE. A chance to come and say hello and see what I’ve been up to.
“I have a growing collection of work that would like to be exhibited and so if you can offer me a show or help in any way please contact me”.
www.cuttsy.co.uk / Instagram
FOOTNOTE: And yes, we should mention, as a footnote, for those who might be wondering, yes, Sarah and Organ have a long long history, we didn’t want to make this feature about her oft-covered rich musical history, we wanted to make it about her recent visual art and what she’s going to be doing next, but yes, this is Sarah from Cardiacs and Sea Nymphs and such.