Sarah Cale was introduced to the NBCCD community in January of 2023 when she joined our ranks for the winter term to ignite our community as a Visiting Scholar who interacted with faculty, staff, and students, created new work, and taught creativity classes. Cale, an interdisciplinary artist whose practice mainly involves painting, textiles, and ceramics, worked in both the NBCCD Textile Design studio and the NBCCD Ceramics studio during her stay in Fredericton.
The work in this exhibition, although varied, is brought together by a single repeating handwoven pattern with an undulating character: “a wave of threads rising and falling in a repeated motion.” In between this wave-like image where the rise and fall meet, forms of eyes are depicted: eyes from which the characters found in this exhibition emerge. Faces constructed in ceramics, as woven tapestry and as paintings arise from a tide of this single patterning.
Cale, who currently resides in Brussels, spent a large part of her childhood and teen years in New Brunswick, in St. Andrews and Saint John where her extended family originates.
She credits the craft traditions in New Brunswick and beyond in influencing her thinking and her work.
“My art practice which focuses primarily on painting has been approached conceptually with the use of craft techniques to access a critical stance on the historical painterly gesture and the illusionistic space of a painted image. I attribute this and link it back to my early years in St. Andrews,” said Cale.
As for the work in this exhibition, it is comprised almost entirely of work produced exclusively during the residency, she said, or work produced after completing the residency using leftover materials. The work she produced in some way showcases materials produced from skills she was learning during her residency, and although this particular body of work is not typical for Cale, she said it remains true to her work’s character.
As much as she influenced the people around her at the college, Sarah Cale said she was certainly influenced by people she met who were open and eager to support her ideas and collaborate with her. Because of this she strategically chose to learn new skills during her residency rather than produce work she already knew how to make.
“I chose to adjust my plan to take form day by day in response to the people and conversations I was having; I received so many great ideas and insights through this. I found it productive to follow my whims and worry about how it would come together later.”
With her mixed media approach, Cale is pushing boundaries and helping others stretch their existing ideas of what a medium can be. When asked about this, Cale said this is the only way she knows how to work.
“My creative attention wanders and self-destructs when I try to focus too much on technique so I can potentially shakeup the order of things with my approach,” she explained.