3 Questions for Sarah and Jane
What was your process for creating these pieces?
S. O. and J. O. From 2020 to 2021, Sarah Ozanne and Jane Orange worked on a collaborative sketchbook project using the theme of Myth. It was steered by fragments of selected text from classical literature, as well as archetypes, deities, heroes and legend. Artists made visual responses to both the text and each other’s work.
Both artists are based in Manchester, UK, working from Falcon Mill Studios and with the pandemic shutting down much of the external world, this created an opportunity to devise a project which would not only provide a creative outlet, but also allow the artists an insight into each other’s practice. The process generated a host of possibilities.
S. O. During lockdown, my reading of Homer and the Greek tragedies has enhanced my understanding of the physiological and environmental powers that drive us to extremes. I have carried on collecting things, not like an antiquarian or a connoisseur, but like a magpie. The objects and materials are often damaged or discarded, but sometimes I am given treasures like the Edwardian photographs I’ve used in this collaboration. I try to make connections, to defuse the power of grief.
J. O. My work explores the process of creative evolution, based on natural cycles of birth, death, ritual and regeneration and develops relationships between form, structure and material. In this collaborative project, Myth has been considered in a monochromatic drawing style to echo the drama and finality of extreme decision making and its consequences.
What is the significance of the medium(s) you chose for this work?
S. O. I used found images, duct tape, coloured paper, tracing paper, old photographs and thread. I like the accidental effects of cutting out and juxtaposition. The tape and thread suggest cancellation, constraint and limitation. I work spontaneously with what I have in front of me, using simple tools like scissors and glue. Often I become aware only later that the work is about forces bigger than ourselves (‘gods’ for some) and the losses we incur in meeting them.
J. O. I was interested in exploring stark negative space in these drawings and as the project was sketchbook based, I used the page as a testing ground to respond to the titles chosen. I often began with Indian ink or compressed charcoal and defined a vacancy which I worked around with a variety of mixed media and experimental mark-making. I wanted the result to be scratchy and have a feeling of otherworldliness.
What is the significance of this work for you?
S. O. This work is about accumulated losses and the ungovernable longing we are forced to live with as we try to stop the seepage. With a reduced capacity, an awareness of constraint, I am trying for meaning in a language that’s imperfectly learned.
J. O. This body of work reflects the power of creativity to make space where space is restricted and denied on both a macro and micro level. Art versus the pandemic; making personal space within a backdrop of political global chaos and on the page moving between negative and positive space to devise a narrative exploring absence and remains.