Artist in Residence March 2014
"What a productive time I had, at the SHED at Whistle Art Stop in Haltwhistle. I am still processing the experience.
My art practice has developed as such, to ask me to question the nature of creative process as an accumulative or distributive act; does ‘art’ end after the assembling or constructing of an object?
I make sculptural installations and performances using everyday materials and objects, predominantly working in university or gallery settings, and within group shows, the nature of the work, scale and duration are set parameters that not only affect the physicality of the work, but gave rise to the question of whether the performance actually had an ‘end,’ and if so, what was the signal or decision that signified that end.
The kind of space available at Whistle Art Stop is quite raw, very neutral - it does not have the legacy of the whitewall gallery, or echo an industrial past, which is a very positive thing, because that would have produced another set of questions, and outcomes enmeshed in the modes of being that such a space would have demanded. In fact, as a space intended as a shared space for community and arts practice it is perfect for my research, which focuses exactly on those two paradigms to ask questions about my practice; how art practice and everyday life affect each other.
The size of the space, and the length of time available meant I was able to see a process at work; expanding into the deconstruction and reassembly of transient sculptural proposals, and not only was there a dialogue between myself and the current work, but I witnessed each piece becoming a kind of visual proposal for the next piece; this often occurring as a transference of material from one focal point to another.
One idea would have to be taken apart for the next one to happen. In the process of making work for a show, a piece of work is brought to some conclusion and then there is a time/space difference before another situation is available, and the feeling, is that one can keep making the same piece of work in order to get to the place where the next thing is about to happen, but you never quite get to that point, or at least, the physical actions of the process are missing, so there was an experience of a change of direction, as and when I was engaged in the process; I felt the focus shift from a deconstruction to a reconstruction and it felt like a negotiation between myself and the materials, rather than my overarching control shaping the piece. This is very exciting for me. I can understand clearly now, that my practice has developed in a direction where I am involved in a participatory role within the process, and so experience process as an exciting exploration, and that I can, through how I move, where the next thing is placed, through watching how materials behave and appreciating forms of interaction, as opposed to mastery, understand more about myself, as a human in the world.
Through this idea of negotiation, I felt excited when a visitor saw the work. I was free from feeling dependant on any kind of value judgement about what had been produced, that I had shifted away from an internal expectation of mine that a viewer might stand in judgement. Because I didn’t feel this was about to happen, I could enjoy other kinds of conversations that felt creative and fed into the work- the creative process potentially continuously shifting form, potentially endless…"
Sarah Riseborough 2014