While any medium and format is up for consideration when creating a drawing, plasticine has dominated my practice since 2012. The plasticine drawings are ephemeral by nature, adhered to walls or structures, sometimes created over a period of days before they are unceremoniously destroyed. The plasticine is stored and reinvigorated to be reused at a later date. Wherever Clarke constructs a drawing, the plasticine accrues dust and debris, thereby embodying traces of each site, which it then carries to the next. As the plasticine travels and ages, as it gathers more ‘knowledge’, it greys and becomes less desirable than the fresh commodity it once was.
Other materials I have used include wire and floor vinyl remnants.
Sally Clarke, Seven Variations on an Acorn, 2022, wire, 230 x 230cms. Photos: Hamish Ta-mé.
Seven Variations on an Acorn takes drawing into the expanded field. Here the vocabulary of line, mark-making, smudging, cross-hatching, and shading are employed to describe three-dimensional objects in space. Constructed from snake, concrete and picture wire, the work sits against the wall, so it maintains a relationship to conventional presentations of drawing on paper. With directional lighting the drawing can be further extended by casting a network of shadows on the wall.
Sally Clarke, Free Passage, 2022, plasticine on wire, variable dimensions. Photos: Sally Clarke.
Free Passage continues my inquiry into expanded drawing. These relief drawings, in the combined mediums of wire and plasticine, investigate how line can occupy actual space while maintaining a relationship to the wall. The wire has been sourced from the fences that form the boundary line between where I live and my neighbours, on Mount Gibraltar in Mittagong. It was cut away to allow easy access for the wombats and swamp wallabies who regularly cross and forage on our block each night. In the face of urban development, the spaces, and corridors for native wildlife to roam freely are fast diminishing.
Sally Clarke, Sketch on the Wire, 2022, plasticine on wire, 25 x 25cm. Photo: Sally Clarke
1. Sally Clarke, The Void (NAS, Sydney), 2017, plasticine, 350 x 350cm. Photo: Sally Clarke. 2: Sally Clarke/Chelsea Farquhar, 2017 (Adelaide). 3: Sally Clarke, Drawing the Void. Photo: Lynne Eastaway
Sally Clarke, Snake Charmer 2, 2016, plasticine, fishing line, 400 x 30cm (at widest point, floor level). Photo: Margaret Roberts.
Sally Clarke, Memory Machine (Mobile Gallery) 2016, plasticine on car window. Photos: Sally Clarke.
Memory Machine (Mobile Gallery) 2016 transforms the car into both a mobile camera and gallery. From its interior the observed world is captured in plasticine outlines, allowing the memory of one place to be relocated and layered over another, whether that be an actual place or through the layering or collision of drawings. The drawings are destroyed from time to time, through melting heat, by the need to wind the window down, by dogs pawing or through my desire for change. Viewers from the outside of the car see my memories in reverse, they never see what was originally observed, in the way the artist did. Even passengers in the car will see the drawing in a different context, from a different perspective. The lines will never match its original subject again.
Sally Clarke, Beast People (details), 2016, plasticine, chemistry glassware, variable dimensions. Photos: Sally Clarke
Sally Clarke, Bush Incantation (She Bush), 2015, plasticine on wall, 275 x 450cm. Photos: Fiona Susanto
Sally Clarke, Big Cow 2, 2014, plasticine on wall, 150 x 150cm. Photos: Luminere Imaging
Sally Clarke, Snake Charmer, 2014, plasticine, glass, 275 x 120cm. Photos: Luminere Imaging
Sally Clarke, Equal Parts, 2014, plasticine, variable dimensions. Photos: Sue Blackburn.
Sally Clarke, still lost, 2013, plasticine, 12 x 60cm. Photo: Sally Clarke
Sally Clarke, Big Cow, 2012, plasticine, 100 x 100cm. Photos: David Eastwood
Big Cow is a reference to the term ‘cow’ that Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas reportedly used as their secret code for orgasm.
Sally Clarke, Remains of Any Day, 2011, floor vinyl, 350 x 500 x 150cm. Photos: Michel Brouet. More vinyl drawings can be found on the Vinyl page.