Ones to Watch: Interview with Sarah Larby

Find out more about Sarah's work in our artist interview.

May 28th, 2020

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Your full name, and University course/ year

Sarah Larby, University of Leeds 4th Year

Can you describe your work in three words?

Materials, Form, Weight

What medium do you prefer to use?

Materials are at the core of my practice so this can vary but I have a fond connection with silicone, and have recently begun to work with plasters, resins and various foams.

What is the inspiration behind your work?

Coming from a background in painting, the Family of Five work was my move from painting into sculpture, finding an affinity for painting with various silicones. My inspiration is primarily driven by the materials I work with, exploring the possibilities of the solid three-dimensional form when it’s allowed to act under its own weight. I think of my practice as a tension between working with and against a material, getting to know a material before, stretching, pulling and pushing its qualities. When working with silicone specifically, I was drawn to it by its uncanny flesh-like qualities and decided to exploit these with human faces as the subject matter.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

I work with lots of different materials but because of the nature of sculpture and curing times, so a couple of the things I couldn’t live without are patience, breaks and lots of cups of tea.

During this uncertain time what will you do to occupy yourself?

I have headed home, which is Northumberland for me, and I am lucky enough to have a garden and a workshop space here to carry on making art. However, my family have also decided that it is a good time to get a puppy to bring some joy into the house so Tia will definitely be keeping me distracted.

Which artists are you most influenced by?

I always really enjoy the work of the great’s Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. But I also discovered the work of Alina Szcaponikow before I did my year studying abroad in Warsaw, where I got to see a lot more of her work in the national art galleries and I fell in love with it. On the more contemporary front, I am really interested in the work of Ivana Basic

How do you seek out opportunities?

I use curatorspace to keep up to date with recent opportunities in spaces, places and organisation that I don’t know but I find Instagram a very useful platform if you follow organisations accounts and keep track of local art happenings in your area.

Plans for the future?

I plan to hopefully keep on making work past university study and try to keep my artistic practice going.

Tell us about an exhibition that has stayed with you

After dropping my sculptures off at Sunny Bank Mills and before the lockdown I managed to squeeze in a trip to Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see the most recent exhibition of Joanne Vasconcelos work as well as visiting Holly Hendry’s sculpture in the Weston. All of the works which are really interesting in terms of the content and the construction. It was also really great to see such strong female artists represented in YSP’s new programme.

What are your favourite Instagram accounts?

I love @thewhitepube for always keeping art content relevant and honest. The artist Dan Lam (@sopopomo), has some really ASMR style videos of her art making process that I always find both intriguing and relaxing.

What is your dream project?

I always have lots of ideas for projects mulling around in my head but I have my sights set on a large-scale silicone tapestry at the moment.

Find out more about Sarah’s work here.

Read about all the Ones to Watch artists here.

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