Interview with Sarah Nance
This interview was done as an update during our Kickstarter campaign for our residency program Public Process. Sarah Nance donated a photo print of her installation titled “(for twenty-nine year) i missed you)” – a site specific work shown in our Whiteaker space in August of 2012. Kickstarter backers will get one 18″ x 12″ photo print at the $150 level. This series is limited to 10 available.
Briefly tell us where you studied art and how long you’ve lived in the Eugene area?
I did my undergraduate at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa—BA in Art and Women’s & Gender Studies. I moved to Eugene in the Fall of 2010 to enter the MFA program at U of O and am currently in my last year of that program.
Historically, object based minimalism (of the 60’s and 70’s) was often big, permanent objects. Your work takes a distinctly opposite approach. Can you tell us a bit about your own response to past minimalism, and your own approach?
I feel that my work is in conversation with Minimalism in a few different ways. I pare down my installations to the bare essentials of what needs to exist to communicate an idea. The simplest and most elegant solution is, I find, often the one that can engage with the most complex ideas; the value of simplicity and elegance of form is present in physics as well, another influence of my work. The ephemerality of my pieces speaks to time, transition and fragility; I am not interested in making monuments. Minimalism of the ’60s and ’70s also quieted the artist’s hand or authorship within the work—I am attached to this idea to the extent that my installations engage intimately with their surroundings and seem to arise from these spaces almost autonomously. However, my repetitive, accumulative way of working is always present in the string pieces, again bringing up an extended sense of time.
You installed “for twenty-nine years” (my edits) in our whiteaker space. Can you talk about working there? How did that room affect your process? Did any of your plans/expectations change as you were working?
Working in the ECA Whiteaker space offered me the unique opportunity to create an indoor gallery installation that interacted with natural light. The circular window in the west wall let in afternoon light that arced across the floor in a distinct pathway. I spent my first day in the space tracing this pathway and planning how the string forms could interact with it for the most amount of time possible. It’s always something of a surprise to see exactly how the light interrupts the linear strings—not so much a change of plans as an allowing for things to happen.