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Duncan tells us about her art practice which focuses on our relationship with the remote and inaccessible...

I am drawn to phenomena that on the surface appear to be constant and uniform, but on deeper inspection reveal themselves to be unique and constantly in flux.  My work reflects on wilderness and large spaces, the gigantic and intangible.  My efforts to capture these on paper attempt to tame them and make them more familiar and accessible.  My recent work has focused on the elements of earth, sky, and water.  Observing, selecting and reproducing discrete parts of these within a frame makes each part more knowable while highlighting their intangible wholes.

Red Shift, 2014. Etching. 70cm x 70cm

One of my first bodies of work came out of a residency which I did in 2014 when I went to Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona. I was doing my MA in Printmaking and in one of the modules in the second year, we had to do a professional practice. I’d always wanted to go and spend time in an observatory, so I wrote to five of the biggest ones and two wrote back and said yes. It was self-lead and I was affiliated with an astronomer there, and he just let me do what I wanted. You weren’t allowed any light, so you couldn’t have any playback on your camera. I would set up lots of time-lapses, setting my camera to take a photo every 5-10 minutes of what looks like the stars moving, but which is actually the world.

Auahituroa, 2016, Etching, 70 x 70 cm

A mind-blowing moment that I really loved was when one of the astronomers asked me if I’d seen the supernova in one of the galaxies, which is when a star comes to the end of its life and explodes. He was explaining how it would get bigger for a couple of weeks and then turn into a red dwarf before disappearing, but it had happened 65 million years ago and had taken that long to reach the earth. That suddenly put everything into perspective about what we were looking at through the telescope, what we could see with our naked eye.

White Noise, 2017, Lithography, 70 x 70 cm 

I am increasingly drawn to landscapes which reflect climate change, or which place the fragility of our planet in its cosmological perspective.  I continue to explore transition and turbulence within the landscape, but choose to show the beauty rather than the devastation, a celebration of what we stand to lose.

Opening image credit: Gibbous, 2017, Etching 79 x 53 cm

For more on Sarah Duncan visit


Collage and Poem by Mikill Skugga


His heart was always full.
Her heart was always in the wrong phase.
To colonize her was a small step for him.
A giant one for her. 
Slowly she discovered that she was not the only one.
'No, I’m not jealous,' she decided.
She was lying under Ariel and Umbriel. Looking for Titania. 
Guessing where Oberon was.
Moving closer to Miranda. 'No, I’m not jealous,' she decided. 
Little liar. 
One night she quartered them all and planted them around her planet,
waiting for new moons to appear.
But nothing grows on burnt ground.
Her heart was always in the wrong phase.
His heart was always full.
For more by Mikill Skugga

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