In my practice, play is my number 1 rule.
Play, as David Graeber so perfectly put it is
“the quintessential form of human freedom.”*.
While my output is nearly always abstract, I absorb as much input as I can through my daily life and surroundings, as well as being influenced by whatever times we are living in, and the culture being produced.
As I guess we all do, I go through life feeling confused, anxious, utterly depressed and angered by certain events, but also incredibly grateful for life and the feelings of happiness, warmth and love it brings through human connection and compassion.
I feel acutely aware of the nano bit of time we each have on this planet, and our scaled out steps in relation to the wider country, continent, world and universe. But despite this ‘tiny dot’ syndrome, I am also passionate about protecting and awakening the agency we each have to make a positive contribution. For this I’m certain we need to protect our imaginations, our time to think, our freedom to play, and our power to reach each others souls through art.
There’s a beautiful enigmatic language of art, which transcends verbal language. It is imperfect, and it is maybe, in the age we live in, a little messy and odd, but it is human, and it has a long history, at least 44,000 years, showing the urge to communicate through marks and materials.
For these innovative marks to first appear, there must have been play. And there must have been an audience who was touched and inspired by the action. I feel now, more than ever it is deeply important to keep that freedom to play and the possibility of connection and inspiration alive.
* Listen to a great interview with David Graeber and Maja Kantar, for DiEM25 here:
Previous statement, 2019, but still relevant info.
Sarah Ryder is somewhere between a painter and a sculptor, loving the colours and liquidity of paint but also the physicality of a variety of materials. Experimentation of process is vital to Ryders's practice, as, it seems, is her rare ability to commit to a finished piece.
Her works have varying speeds of entropic timelines, with particular points of their existence publically showing themselves in various altered states. There’s often a proud vulnerability in these moments as works reveal their aging cracks, tears, creases and cuts. Ryder’s work is a lot to do with the messy complications, and joy, of being fleetingly alive as much as it is to do with the mysteries of death and using the process of making to somehow connect way back to the language of our primal expressions.
Her practice has been long influenced by the 1960's Italian movement Arte Povera for it's liberating use of materials and processes away from the conditioned restraints of traditional art; the Japanese notion of Wabi Sabi which acknowledges enigmatic beauty in the unfinished, imperfection, and impermanence; and her absolute belief in the importance of the freedom of learning through play.
Much of her resource material is taken from the radius which regularly surrounds her, often making drawings, photographs or notes of typically human made/built things – with human touched and weather aged patina all over it, but no humans in sight. Not much of the natural world either. It used to be the sea which inspired her work, due to it's ability to put everything into perspective, but now she's a lot older, somehow looking at all these places and objects which have been touched and gradually changed by so many people (and days) feels even more moving than the sea. For now at least.