Sara Silks: Leaving Terra Firma and Natsukashii
“My work investigates concepts of fragility, vulnerability, and determination. I use darkroom printing processes, large and small format photography, and digital tools in my work. Using alternative and historical photographic processes allows me to make personal statements in my work by using my drawing and printmaking background.” – Sara Silks
After years of teaching photography and drawing and inspiring students to take on their own stellar careers in photography, art and film making, Sara Silks has been on fire, creating stunning images that challenge and excite our perceptions. She is devoted to alternative processes, using a variety of approaches to shift how we see. Today we feature two of her projects, Leaving Terra Firma and Natsukashii. Each has a unique approach to presentation, but both are rooted in emotion with a nod to Japanese aesthetics.
Her work was recently featured in SHOTS Magazine with a wonderful interview by Doug Beasley and she will be exhibiting with Addison Brown and Kris Sanford in a three person show, Perceptions, at the Lonsdale Gallery in Toronto, Canada–which has just been selected as a Feature Exhibition in the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival throughout the month of May. Her work will be on exhibition (with sales opportunities) at Photo Historica in July in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and she will have a solo show in July at Galeria Photo/Graphic in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
Sara Silks is a Kansas City based fine art photographer. She received a BA from the University of Kansas in both Visual Arts and Art History, and MA in Art History with Honors from the same institution. She did graduate work with John Talleur for printmaking, and her studies with Christopher James, Paul Taylor, Christina Z. Anderson, and Elizabeth Opalenik have inspired her continued work with alternative and historic photographic processes.
Silks exhibits in galleries and museums nationally as well as internationally, and has had a solo show in New York at the Soho Photo Gallery in October of 2017. This year will bring an emerging artist feature in Shots magazine, representation in a three person show in the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival in Toronto, exhibition and sales opportunities at Photo Historica in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a solo show and representation in July at Galeria Photo/Graphic in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Her work is currently held in private collections across the country.
Silks’ work has been published in Diffusion Annual IX, Plates to Pixels 2017, South by Southeast Photomagazine, Lenscratch, The Hand Magazine, Seities publication, Fine Art Magazine, DE (portfolio feature), Shots (feature), and more.
Silks taught photography and drawing for over 20 years. Along with her fine art practice, she now guest lectures at universities and other art institutes. She is the recipient of the coveted 2016 CENTER Santa Fe teaching award (honorable mention), and her students have gone on to be film directors, fashion photographers, fine art photographers, and respected creatives in academic environments.
Leaving Terra Firma
This project began in a time of great political unease and division in the United States. I was looking for a way to express my feelings about the current political climate, and coincidentally visited an exhibit called “You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies” by Yayoi Kusama.
I expected the exhibit to be quite beautiful, and astounding. What I did not expect was the discomfort, disorientation, and unsettled feeling that I experienced upon entering the room. In a way that now informs these pieces in this series, it was a very physical and visceral reaction that made me empathize with the artist and what must go on inside her at times.
I named the series “Leaving Terra Firma” because my experience inside the installation left me feeling otherworldly, and no longer grounded.
By combining an image of myself with an important memory of a day, each of these pieces become a visual metaphor that is linked to my feelings about the uncertainties in our country, and the seeming endless swirl of cataclysmic events that redefine our reality.
The soft flutter of wings and small shuffling sounds greeted me as I awoke. I grabbed my book and slippers and went quietly down the steps, avoiding the ones that creaked and could wake the family. Outside, blanketed by the soft lake mist, I climbed into my favorite spot of the mulberry, a large V shaped set of branches, seemingly designed for my tiny young frame. The lake was still, and the mist hung on until the rising sun began to warm it, and it lifted gently in a salute to the new day. I watched and waited until the sun warmed me, and then breathed deeply, ready for what the day may bring.
From my earliest memory, there have been small moments when time stops, and a sense of being one with the world has been unerring in its certainty. The images in this series have been a reverie and meditation for me, and are precious and wonderful gifts. Each location has special meanings. I have tried to capture both the memory and feeling of many of those moments in my photography and art practice.
“Natsukashii” is a word which stands for the state of “feeling nostalgic” or “fond/sweet memory.”
Each image is a pigment print on Unryu Japanese paper, hand waxed and mounted on Rives BFK rag paper with chine colle´.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
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