Sarah Needham has a close affinity with the earth in a literal sense, as well as in a symbolic one. Pummelling rocks, clay, ochre, roots, and sediments found and sourced from across the globe to make pigments alongside sourcing international materials to make artisan oil paints. The work exhibited at the estate has been selected as its pigments related to the extensive history of the South-West of England.
Using the archaic practice of making pigments organically and manually is as important as the final compositions. The effort in finding these natural pigments, along with extensive research of the ancestral histories and geology behind them, results in a refined body of work which often appears to be a natural occurrence.
The works inception often begins with an event that happens in the now, something triggers a connection with a historical event or place, from the wars described by Homer, to archaeological discoveries globally, to silk route trade and so on. She is interested in human links, so even when it’s local it’s global too.
The control of the brush strokes mimics how pigment or oil would bleed across a body of water. This dispersion is seen throughout nature, and it is also characteristic of the exchanges between cultures, mimicking the trade of colour.
Relationships have been formed for millennia from colour. We all share an inherent desire and visceral reaction to infinite hues, although some may symbolise something different to another. They all influence us. Yet, a deeper understanding comes from the dissection of origin, to which Sarah devotes much of her current practice to.
Sea walls and ship wrecks
Woad, indigo and red ochre in oil on Arches huile paper, mounted on a stretcher and framed with a floater frame, protected with UV varnish.
Hand Made oil on arches 300gsm huile cotton rag archival paper, glass fronted frame.
31 cm wide