Sally tells us about herself with a simple Q&A
Q1 Who is Sally de Courcy?
An interest in social justice led me away from art into a career of medicine. Early in my training, whilst young and working in the developing world, I was exposed to the suffering of refugees from a genocidal regime. These images stayed with me when life and family took me back to the UK and the safety of general practice in Surrey. My own future seemed comfortable until sudden and serious illness catapulted me into retirement at the age of 40.
No longer able to do the job I loved and facing an uncertain future I turned back to art and to art school. The academic training I received over eight challenging years at the University of the creative Arts, extended and consolidated my practice as a conceptual artist. It allowed me to rebuild myself, piece by piece.
Q2 Where do you get your inspiration?
I am inspired by my experiences as both observer and participant as practitioner and patient, most recently as an immunocompromised artist living a shielded existence in relative social isolation.
My interest in making is highly personal, building repetitively from the small to the large, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I began by repeatedly casting simple objects and arranging them to create more complex forms, pursuing the path of abstract repetition and the magnifying repetition of imperfection as a means of representing physical, social and cultural evolution. An epiphany came to me at art school when I was challenged to make the abstract more personal to bring more of myself into the piece. My work is not autobiographical in the figurative sense but like many artists explores the liminal space between conscious representation and unconscious influence. In my case this has meant revisiting my experiences as a witness of human suffering reinterpreted through a historical and geopolitical lens informed by my wider reading.Recent authors who have directly inspired me include Butler and Zizek.
Q3 Did you have any formal training?
Having been a senior doctor who trained medical students and junior doctors, I started at the beginning again. I took an access course at the University of the creative arts in 2008. I progressed to a BA in fine Art before obtaining Masters of Arts with distinction in 2016. I am formally trained in a variety of mediums, including bronze.
Q4 How would you describe your art?
The repeated objects that I cast relate metaphorically and literally and are hidden in the artwork. When viewed, I hope that the contextual links are recognised and re-assembled to reveal the hidden narrative. My work is frequently deliberately decorative but hiding darker and often sinister subjects that when revealed create dissonance. The sum then becomes something that, like an optical puzzle, oscillates between beauty and nightmare. I use repetition to emphasise my ideas and concerns within this overall gestalt.
Q5 what artists inspire you?
I have been strongly influenced by other artists, notably Doris Salcedo, Ai Weiwei and Mona Hatoum. They have transcended their autobiographical experiences to explore and comment on thematic human issues.
Q6 What does Sentiment mean to you?
Sentiment to me reflects a uniquely human sensibility, frailty and strength that is common to us all, whoever and wherever we are.
Sally's artwork we have reproduced on canvas and divided into 1000 pieces. Each piece is then mounted on hand gilded 24 carat gold leaf base with a thread of gold leaf running through each piece connecting all pieces together and to the artist and in turn to all the artists in the Sentiment collection. Framed in a black wooden box frame, signed and numbered ready to be collected and shared. To own a piece of your sentiment follow the link below and start collecting and connecting.
Entitled 'Sneeze 2020' Sally's artwork was based on a sculpture made of human pelvic bones.
Bones often feature in her work as they are emblematic of human mortality and vulnerability. Bones reflect a playing field of memory, trace and loss. They therefore hold a great significance for Sally during this current pandemic of COVID-19.
The image of the sculpture reminded Sally of the Covid virus seen in electron microscope images. She digitally reproduced the sculpture in photoshop numerous times changing the scale to create an imaginary sneeze as if the virus could be visualised spreading through the air.
In electron microscope images the virus is often red however it is artificially coloured so that it can be seen.The virus is in fact colourless, as it is too small it can neither absorb or reflect light. For this reason the black and white unaltered image of the pelvic bones seemed appropriate.