Sarah Kudirka is an artist fascinated by the shapes and edges of things. Her latest paintings are focused on shell-like forms, drawing from them a metaphor for diaspora, ancient traditions of human journeys across water and our capacity to share and make others welcome. The forms drift apart and crowd together, points at which they touch and rub along are key. They are worn down and buoyed up, float and settle, find themselves in shared space needing to make room for others, in constant flow there is both closeness and resistance to it.
Kudirka’s latest paintings are characterised by obliterated, incised, scratched and scraped, altered paint surfaces, remade over and again, iteratively, often across years. Her swirling brushstrokes reference seashells, geological forms, fingerprints and mapped hill contours.
“You know when you find something in your pocket that you picked up then forgot? Familiar but unknown, a wee treasure, your fingers feel around its surfaces, its edges. Not until you pull it out of your pocket and see it in your hand do you know what it is. My art has long been about exploring the shapes and edges of stuff, kind of like that.”
Her first Polaroids project (2012-19) derived from the artist walking in cities – London, Berlin, Dundee, Hong Kong, Sydney, Edinburgh and Glasgow – while looking up at the sky in between the buildings. The series output comprises large grids (and prints of) hundreds of images made over her Polaroids, using paint and pencil to obliterate the photographic image and reimagine urban spaces.
Board Member & Trustee of Acme Studios in London from 2009 to 2017, when she moved to Scotland. 2018 to 2021, elected Council Member of the Society of Scottish Artists. February 2018, Research Artist in Residence at Project Ability, Glasgow. Her paper “The Photos by Women You Just Won’t See” was given during the Second Morton Symposium on Women & Photography in Scotland, convened by the National Trust for Scotland and Glasgow Women’s Library, online October 2020. It was published in the Journal Studies in Photography, Spring 2021.
Experienced in commissioning and delivery-planning for art in the public realm working with architects, developers and public sector clients, in Spring 2017 Sarah was on the selection panel for a new series of sculptures as part of a major London-wide infrastructure project.
Sarah worked with Arup from 2006 consulting on communications at Global Board-level, then proposed and became the engineering firm’s first ever Artist Inhouse working on a portfolio of projects, (2011-13). Having collaborated with Sir John Sorrell CBE to develop the concept for a series of creative nights intended to seed new connections and collaborations between people from diverse creative disciplines. Sarah was its founder, working remotely with teams worldwide to stage The Penguin Pool sessions in Beijing, Cape Town, Dublin, Hong Kong, London, Manchester, Melbourne, Milan, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney & Toronto (23 one-off events run sequentially in 15 cities worldwide, across 21 months).
Kudirka (née Davenport) holds BA hons Fine Art (first, 1990) and MA in Sculpture Studies (distinction, 1991) from The University of Leeds, where she was also awarded The Passey Prize In Art, 1990. Funded by the Henry Moore Sculpture Trust, she researched the catalogue raisonné of Austin Wright (1911-97), which was published in James Hamilton’s monograph on the sculptor, Lund Humphries / The Henry Moore Foundation, 1994.
Currently developing On Kelvinside, a new artist-led space in the West End of Glasgow launching in 2024, for ad hoc contemporary exhibitions, events and the exchange of ideas.
Sarah is partially-deaf, but not registered disabled.