She studied Textile Design and then spent 10 years working within the Art Department in feature films. Duncan has recently passed her Masters degree in Print with Distinction at UWE in Bristol.
Sarah Duncan comments: "My practice is based on the natural world, and my most recent work has focused on our relationship with the remote and inaccessible, notably the ocean and the cosmos. I am drawn to phenomena that appear on the surface to be constant and uniform but on further inspection reveal themselves to be unique, constantly in flux and ever changing- an observation that may also apply to forms and light that are invisible to the naked eye. My prints seek to embed the humanly experienced physical world into the unknowable enormity of the cosmos. It shares the central aims of science in trying to make sense of our surroundings, but focuses on an emotional and embodied response rather than a purely intellectual one. Perhaps due to slight agoraphobia, I am drawn to wilderness and large spaces, the gigantic and intangible.
My efforts to capture these on paper are attempts to tame them and render them more familiar and accessible. My recent work has focused on the Earth, sky and water. These elements are immeasurably large, but the process of observing, selecting and reproducing a portion of them inside a frame makes that section more knowable whilst simultaneously revealing how unknowable the whole is. My practice is concerned with shifting and unstable bodies of matter, momentarily suspended in time. Many stars we see when viewing them through a telescope no longer exist. We are in fact peering into the past, as illuminated by the old light dead and distant stars. Capturing this image with a print or drawing is magical. The same is true of the physical formation of our own terrestrial landscapes. I am interested in the forces that have shaped our planet and left their marks and traces upon the landscape. Rather than telescopy, research into these forces is inherent in walking through a landscape and responding to it through photography, sketching and note taking. These records then become the starting point for a piece. The cyclical nature of landscape creation and erosion is echoed in my drawing, which has become less about the line and more concerned with the nature of layers. By using layers of organic materials- charcoal, graphite, wax and chalk- to build up surfaces over the paper, and eroding portions of these layers through erasing, the drawings echo the creative forces behind the landscapes they represent."
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