Quiet Collaboration

Connecting contrasting practices with a mulberry tree (2018)

A Quiet Collaboration was a creative collaboration between Sara and installation artist Stacey Righton. In the summer of 2018 they shared a period of intense making in the gardens of the Dartington Hall estate, the outcome of which was an exhibition in association with in Space Gallery, Dartington.

Both artists used their contrasting individual approaches and practice techniques, sharing an openness to experimentation and allowing for the unexpected. Responding to the same chosen site – a large mulberry tree beginning to shed its fruit and leaves – they worked side by side, unavoidably influencing each other and making connections. Stacey’s photography, sound, drawing, and writing illustrated an investigative approach to her findings in nature; Sara’s giant mobiles and detritus works on paper, were more an intuitive response.

Sara writes:‘The mixed media paintings and giant mobiles in the show are like living organisms, multilayered and colour-saturated. Histories are exposed through traces of layers or ‘lives’ seen beneath the surface. “Mulberry detritus” started out as a reworked, upcycled 15 foot circular floor painting, collaboratively-made by a group of young offenders. Visits to the mulberry tree, the physicality of Stacey’s juice-stained hands and her retelling of the history and symbolism of the mulberry bush, triggered a type of carnage in the studio! Tearing up, puncturing holes and slapping on layers of mulberry-hued paper led to a natural break away from my 2D habits.’

‘“Detritus I, II & III” are made from carefully salvaged pieces from paintings made as long as 13 years ago. My collage technique of splicing up, tearing and scoring into, pealing away, has resulted in a collection of several ‘boxes of bits’. Each of these bits has a history, once upon a time being part of a painting that didn’t need them. I’ve waited for an opportunity for them to have a life of their own. The connection is an obvious one with the chaos, colour and control of nature rolled into one.’