Sarah Justice – Red Lodge Clay Center

Sarah JusticeMissoula, Montana

Red Lodge Clay – Center Short-Term Resident (AIA) 2016

Sarah was raised in North Carolina. She has primarily been a self-taught, working studio artist since 1998. Oil painting was her main medium until she attended Georgia State University to receive her BFA with a concentration in Ceramics and graduated in May of 2014. Sarah is now pursuing her MFA at The University of Montana.

My work explores the complex relationship between sexuality and how it is formed by social and cultural factors. I sculpt the figure in various forms, addressing issues surrounding human sexuality and relationships. I work with themes and the dual nature of objectification and power.

My recent research surrounding feminism and gender studies has fueled the content of my art and has shifted my thinking deeper towards issues surrounding human sexuality and gender roles in contemporary society. The topic of sexuality in my work comes from a personal narrative. I am exploring the notion of “the female gaze”. This topic is very complex, as the male gaze is so embedded in our society. My aim is to bring to light the woman’s perspective on sexuality and the female experience of desire, lust and intimacy. I am an advocate for equality in intimate relationships, while researching the roles couples play in private settings.

Under the large umbrella of human sexuality I have been exploring objectification and exploitation of the female and male body, pornography verses eroticism and paradoxically healthy objectification, through the notion of the female gaze. Under the umbrella of power I am exploring control, seduction and on the flip side personal empowerment, intimacy, touch and eroticism.   I am interested in sex positive feminism verses exploitation and the spaces between. I look to mythology and religion (mainly Christianity) as a source of how patriarchal societies have been born. Through the use of iconography, classical aesthetics, surrealist undertones and pop culture and design my sculptures are created.

My main sculptural medium is clay. The visceral and tactile qualities of clay are the perfect match for my figurative sculpture. I hollow build small to life-size figures, to be able to create from the inside out.   To roll out muscle tone from the inside out is exciting to me as I can work in an additive and subtractive way, pushing and pulling to create human life form. The ability to refine a surface in clay is incredibly rewarding as it takes patience and skill. Refining my surfaces is an obsessive quality that serves as a channel for my perfectionist nature.

I often sculpt from life as well as draw from a live model to inform my sculptural process as this gives life like qualities to my sculptures. At quick glance the often resemble real life people. This essence is one that I am fascinated by.

To be able to sculpt the human figure to relate and bring to light important human issues to my audience is my life’s passion.