Sarah Sparkes, We are all Doomed
The following text is from a catalogue essay by Martin Holman, October 2009:
“There’s a work by the British artist Sarah Sparkes that raises the spectre of predestination. A lacerimmed, delicately-worked place mat is embroidered in gothic script with the omen “We are all doomed.” And, for good measure and compositional balance, the phrase is repeated. Only that Sparkes mixes the dark with the light. The mat is actually a plastic imitation, dye-stamped in a factory, and the words are painted. It imitates the sort of domestic embellishment thought “proper” since Victorian times to protect furniture valued or cherished on account of its cost or provenance from spills and marks. What its painted incantation
proclaims its decoration tries to inhibit. Handcraft to ward off, to “daintify” the inevitable into a familiar old saw, like one traded half in jest— “if the wind changes you’ll stay like that”. We know the wind will not change us irrevocably: by mouthing the warning, we give destiny the slip. Yet there it is, projected with modest means, an artwork that illuminates the “big question”: the paradox of fate and free will. The force within this deceptively simple work is its arresting tension. Sparkes’s “For what we are about to receive” invokes the table graces that offer thanks to God. It interrogates the evolution of prayer into an insurance policy that acknowledges that His grace rules.”
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