‘Art allows me to create a world I belong to. Art is home and personal. It’s a place where I am free to exercise my power and test ideas, before releasing them into other worlds. At that point it becomes political.’
Sally Clarke is an Australian artist based in Mittagong, NSW. She is informed by the spaces and environments she inhabits, and the materials and lives she encounters; pushing what is found into queer, imaginative realms. Ideas of place, identity and belonging, subtle and abstracted, dwell not only within but between represented forms and symbols. Clarke is interested in humanity’s relationship with the natural world and how, as a species, we interpret, imitate, and manipulate it to fulfil our own needs and desires. We project ourselves into nature and use it as a mirror to examine ourselves. These concerns inevitably require consideration of the way we engage land, sea, and air as foundations for our societies, cultures and political systems, and the role acts of creation and destruction play in this process.
Trained in painting and drawing Clarke remains open to the possibilities of all materials, processes and influences when considering a response to her observations and encounters. Completing a PhD in 2008 Clarke has developed specific knowledges around gender, desire, and landscape, while teaching at a tertiary level for fourteen years has demanded broad and ongoing research across art history, contemporary practice, and theory.
Clarke has exhibited her work in artist-run spaces, university spaces, regional galleries, and state institutions. In 2013 she founded AirSpace Projects with Brenda Factor – a five gallery and unconventional museum space in Sydney that exhibited the work of over four hundred established and emerging Australian and International artists – and directed it until the end of 2017. In 2018 Clarke and Factor donated the space to the community in the form of a not-for-profit association and moved to Mittagong to focus on their own art practices.