Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Boundless Curiosity: Sarah Hearn

Artist INC OKC liaison Sarah Hearn speaks with visitors to her Concept/OK residency project
Sarah Hearn, visual artist
Sarah Hearn is an interdisciplinary installation artist living and working in Oklahoma City. The fulcrum of her practice is photography and drawing, but she often uses other media and approaches including, collage, cut paper, sculpture, sound, video and book making.

Sarah’s own studio practice seems to be fueled by a relentless curiosity, an unending stream of questions and a firm belief that pretty much anything is possible. The presence of these questions and curiosity appear everywhere within the work itself as well as conversation about the work. When asked about the role of curiosity within her process, she replied, “I just don’t believe that things are impossible.”

She is particularly interested in the tension between what is real and what is not real. It is this fascination that has led her to explore the relationship between science and science fiction. Speaking of this relationship she said, “With my work I attempt to engage a range of audiences on different levels. If some look at the work and are pleased aesthetically, that’s fine. If they choose to look closer, there is more to it. I like to make work that rewards pouring over the details. It’s not something I expect people to do, but if they engage, they keep finding more layers to the work – both physical and conceptual. I’m also interested in posing questions about what are the limits of our systems of knowledge. At what point does science fiction become real science? I’m interested in challenging the viewer to question what they know.”

Sarah will serve as a Peer Facilitator for the Artist INC Program in Oklahoma City in the fall of 2013 and when asked what advice she might give young artists, she replied, “Remain open and teachable – even if it’s painful. If committed to life long learning, you will continuously grow and evolve personally and artistically. It’s also important to keep a sense of humor about your work/practice and the art world.”

Sarah’s studio practice is vibrant, engaged, thought provoking and when conversation moves to the more practical aspects of her work, her responses are equally as thoughtful. “The practicality of it is a constant struggle, I rely on income outside of my sales from my art, but I have found there is an interesting synergy between these things.” Teaching, commercial photography, workshops and arts administrative work create a synergy that she takes back into the studio. She said, “For me, it’s worth it to do the stuff I may not enjoy as much so that I can do what I really love.”

When asked what she felt she could uniquely give to young artists, she replied without hesitation, “My honesty. I’m always honest with my students about the difficulties I have because I think it’s important that young artists know rejection happens as well as success.”

Guest writer Erin Shaw profiles some of the Artist INC facilitators to explore their artistic practices. Oklahoma artists of all disciplines may apply until June 14, 2013 for the Artist INC program held in Oklahoma City this fall. ee for more information and the application. 

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