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Sarah Knight (they/them) is a mixed-media ceramicist and recent graduate from Washington University in Saint Louis’ MFA program. Born in 1990, they were raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and attended Mills College for their BFA (2013). Their work has been exhibited regionally and online during the pandemic, including a recent digital show with Sculptor’s Alliance (New York, NY.) Their artistic influences include geology, queer morphology and their ever-growing rock collection.
Is all matter intrinsically queer when it is in a state of transformation? This question is the foundation behind my making process and my decision to work with sculptural mixed-media. My sculptures work to reframe visible, historical, and contemporary queerness using material and process. Ceramic processes take a raw material and vitrify it using heat. Plaster dust and water sets into a solid. I see the role of transmutation in geological materials like this is closely aligned with the fluxing formation of self-identity.
As a genderqueer artist, I take this process and incorporate fragments of stone, steel, and residue from previous sculptures to create conglomerates that question the role of artificial and natural, the made and the given, or the primordial and the evolved. I question how we “orient” ourselves in the landscape – we use landmarks like cairns, horizons, and poles. My sculptures resemble core samples, stacked-rock cairns, mountains, and caverns. Installed, they become landmarks of their own, objects of record, (dis)orientation, and memorial.
By connecting the fluxing state of geological matter with non-binary queerness, I hope to reveal the hidden power dynamic implied by the existence of a gendered landscape, and the influence of this gendering on the orientation of our identities in the contemporary world.