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Untitled 2008 (large) - Sarah Uldall (2)

Sarah Uldall

Throughout my work of the past few years there have been strong references to textiles – an area traditionally the territory of women. Why are we so mesmerised by the repetitions of pattern and colour? I have studied the Bauhaus movement, and the combination of utility and beauty that was so relevant to it. When John Ruskin and William Morris rejected what they perceived to be as the inhumanity of the industrial revolution in England, the Arts and Crafts movement was born. In a parallel fashion, I have rejected some of the more contemporary methods of today in favour of the more primitive technique of stone lithography.

For each layer of colour to exist, the block of limestone must be grained down by hand. The surface of the stone is luminous and smooth like human flesh. Only then can the drawing materials be applied. It is science and magic combined. The manipulation of materials using ones very own hands and the most basic of machines is primal and deeply satisfying.

The elementary forces of circle, triangle and line provide infinite possibilities. These shapes have led me to the modern alphabet and the codes of sign-writers. I have turned images on their sides so that the verticals become horizontals, and then turn into flags. For a while I imagined that I was designing flags for imaginary countries. Along the way I discovered the marvels of the simple geometry set and the French curve.

Some time ago I took the ancient symbol of the crucifix and re-worked it to form a framework of my own. Gradually it too was turned on its side and it depicted something else; a spaceship landing, or maybe a diagram for a technical component.

The making of these images is reliant upon an odd marriage of intuition and discipline. They are a contemplation of proportion and balance; a composite of design, beauty and intangibility. My intention is for my work to appeal to the viewer in a subliminal way. I wish to relay messages or codes in an abstract way and from a different place in time.

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