Beneath the Skin: The Sculpture of Sarah Davey
Disembodied torsos covered in fungus; vulnerable wide-eyed nymph-like stares; the feral female portraits of Sarah Louise Davey draw you in for a closer look. Full of texture and horrific detail, these morbidly magical creatures call into question our own standards of beauty.
Disturbing yet striking, these ceramic sculptures are often adorned with cloying, decaying flowers sprouting from the eyes or with crowns of antlers. Outreached hands sprout coral-like growths. Skin peels and melts away from open wounds to expose internal structures, be they iron piping bones, flora, or even a vestigial hand nestled deep within. Despite being three dimensional, the painted glazing details allude to a two-dimensional drawing, with bold lines almost sketching features against the porcelain-like surfaces.
The two-headed beast, the twin within, living just beneath the skin, sharing the shell and breathing life in through the cracks. They are psychic creatures blistered by hope and beaten with twinges of nostalgia.
The sculpture process itself is arduous. Mounds of clay are added to a metal armature to aid in an accurate structure. After the surface sculpting is completed, the sculpture is cut apart, hollowed out, and then reassembled like a puzzle prior to being kiln fired.
The artist chooses to work within the realms of the figure for its boundless opportunities to tell a tale and reveal the depths of human nature. It is within their wrinkles and beyond their gaze; through a slight slump in frame and tilt of the head that questions are posed and revelations are made. These creations became a vessel for her subconscious to worm through. These beasts are seemingly malevolent little darlings, but they are exquisite creatures, embodying what is within us all: the light and the dark, a push and pull of the spirit. As they stare at the viewer, they exhibit a great sense of courageous strength and a pureness behind their eyes; they seem to question what is in front of them and look beyond it.
Sarah Davey is currently pursuing an MFA in Ceramics at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Get a peek at what she’s working on via her Instagram.
All pictures are the property of Sarah Davey and are not to be used without her permission.