Our curatorial process for finding the speakers for our DELVE events is an organic one. We are often introduced to amazing people via our inspiring network of artist friends and colleagues, or we discover people during our constant looking, researching and art-viewing. Once we've found one inspiring speaker, we seek out additional individuals with complimentary, intriguing practices for each event’s topic.
Since the presentations at DELVE are aimed at diving deeper into the individual’s process and creative path, we are always fascinated by the similarities we see from two people's inspirations and influences, despite the fact that they might have incredibly different practices.
On March 17th at Videology, it was fascinating to hear how both Ariel Jackson and Sarah G. Sharp have been influenced by certain family members and notions of home, and have been shaped by the environments in which they were raised, in order to create work that is both engaging and powerful.
Ariel Jackson began her talk by describing life in post-Katrina Louisiana, when she was moved to a rural parish to continue school after she was displaced by the storm. It was during this time that she found herself being confronted by media representations–on television, especially–that she found to be completely disconnected from her own reality. This realization that the media was responsible for forming the broader public's opinion, especially in regards to politics and race, sparked her desire to explore these notions of private versus collective notions of understanding the world around us.
Greatly influenced by her sister, who equipped her with readings and the belief that knowledge is power, she returned to New Orleans, and then moved to New York to attend The Cooper Union. In her talk, which you can watch below, she explains how she uses the visual language of video and animation, along with comedy and the creation of characters, to subvert stereotypes and honor both the speaker and the listener while addressing political and social issues.
Sarah G. Sharp's practice is very material-based, and she is interested in the construction and expression of individual belief systems, especially where these structures relate to or overlap with ideals scripted by a larger “community.” She uses mundane materials, video and collaborations to highlight and question how we process media, as well. Sarah is very influenced by her personal history: she grew up in northern California in a fundamentalist Christian household where her dad started many churches. She grew up with people who had a very utopian vision of society, and in her work she explores ways people make their own spaces, histories, and communities, and the notions of reconciling sameness and difference.
Her talk, which you can watch below, started off with an animation she made from drawings of baptisms that happened in backyard pools (an experience from her childhood). She then took us on a journey of her work, showing sculptures, family crests and blazens, a project featuring Devil's place names in Connecticut, a beautiful residency in Spain, all the way through her most recent work involving communes and Life Magazines from 1969. It's very much worth watching:
Thanks to Ariel and Sarah for sharing with everyone, and for all of the talented and inspiring people we met that cold Monday night in Williamsburg. See some photos below and we hope to see you in May at our next DELVE event: COLLECTIVES + ART. Stay tuned!