A Lab | 2021

 

Strachan + Turner

Sarah Strachan

Sarah Strachan is an artist based in Cambridge. In her transdisciplinary practice she senses environmental changes through deep conversations with people, place, the land and the materials and objects associated with these. Sarah is interested in how our perception affects our ecological awareness and thinking and she explores her ideas through printmaking, painting, and ceramics; often fusing sound and/or moving image into final installations.

Nicola Turner

Nicola Turner is an artist based in Bath. Her work investigates the dissolution of boundaries, in- betweenness, and the continuous exchange of ecosystems. She combines found objects that hold traces of memory, the shapes of living forms, and materials from organic ‘deadmatter such as horsehair – a material used previously for bedding and furniture.

A large sculpture made from dark coloured horsehair stuffed tendrils tangled around light coloured glazed ceramic vessels on a stone floor

Sarah Strachan + Nicola Turner

‘Material conversations in the studio’ (2021)

Mixed media inc horsehair and ceramic

 Strachan + Turner is a collaboration between two artists – Sarah Strachan and Nicola Turner – as part of New Platform Art Lab 2021. The two artists gravitated towards working together at an early stage in the NPA programme, having identified a commonality in their interests and an oppositional aesthetic in their work.

A close up of a sculpture made from light coloured glazed ceramic vessels surrounded by dark coloured horsehair stuffed tendrils

Sarah Strachan + Nicola Turner

‘Material conversations in the studio’ [Detail] (2021)

Mixed media inc horsehair and ceramic 

“Our starting point was a collective reading of Jane Bennett’s manifesto for new materialism – Vibrant Matter” explains Strachan. Working at a distance the pair hosted weekly online meetings to share their understanding of vitality in and of materials.These discussions formed the basis of the Material Conversations residency where Strachan + Turner spent time in each other’s studios during November and December 2021.

A large sculpture made from dark coloured horsehair stuffed tendrils and light coloured glazed ceramic vessels sprawling down an industrial staircase

Sarah Strachan + Nicola Turner

‘Material conversations in the Ruskin Building stairwell’ (2021)

Mixed media inc horsehair and ceramic

The physical juxtaposition of their respective materials led to bodily revelations where Strachan’s ceramic vessels became fragile egg shells or orifices which Turner’s horsehair tendrils creeping in and out to caress or suffocate, depending on the configuration and the viewer’s perspective.With a deeper insight into the methods and rituals behind each other’s work, they explored the boundaries and liminal spaces between their practices.

A large sculpture made from dark coloured horsehair stuffed tendrils and light coloured glazed ceramic vessels sprawling down an industrial staircase

Sarah Strachan + Nicola Turner

‘Material conversations in LAB Courtyard’ (2021)

Mixed media inc horsehair and ceramic

“Our conversations turned to the more-than-human…sharing a more fluid, porous or permeable perspective on our perception of the world” says Strachan. This is where the pair came up with their working title, Borborygmi, which having come to recognise the ‘digestive’ qualities of their combined sculptural forms, refers to the sounds that come from the gastrointestinal tract and represents the largest specialised microbial community in the human ecosystem.

A large sculpture made from dark coloured horsehair stuffed tendrils and light coloured glazed ceramic vessels emerging from an outdoor window of a yellow tiled building

Sarah Strachan + Nicola Turner

‘Material conversations on the Ruskin steps’ (2021)

Mixed media inc horsehair and ceramic

Finally having established a visual language between their works, the pair experimented further by extending the material conversation beyond the context of the studio. Reflecting on this conversation,Turner refers to their works as: “A meeting, a journey, a shape-shifter” and says “…it’s as if they ebb and flow so we are running to catch up”.The resulting site-responsive installations can be seen in the accompanying photographs.

A large sculpture made from dark coloured horsehair stuffed tendrils and light coloured glazed ceramic vessels flowing down an outdoor concrete staircase

Sarah Strachan + Nicola Turner

‘Material conversations in the Ruskin Gallery’ (2021)

Mixed media inc horsehair and ceramic

 

A close up of a sculpture made from dark coloured horsehair stuffed tendrils tangled around light coloured glazed ceramic vessels

Sarah Strachan + Nicola Turner

Material conversations in the studio’ [Detail] (2021)

Mixed media inc horsehair and ceramic

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