Sally Poltrock

While working in the studio, I have found myself thinking about strength and vulnerability, contemplating what we are capable of with power of mind and character. 2020 has been a challenging year, living through the COVID-19 pandemic with thoughts of mortality about loved ones, safety and security, I constantly reflect on the human condition in my practice and the way the body keeps score- a type of emotional baggage caused by trauma. 


Extending on the work produced last semester, I will continue exploring the metaphoric potential of rust as I reflect on my own experience of living with Ankylosing Spondylitis disease, also called ‘Tin Man Disease’. For me to stop moving means excruciating painful immobility and eventual spine fusion.  I use this ‘obstacle’ to drive my practice and see my sculptural experimentation with fabric and rust as a way of tracking my movements and motion.  My process in the studio is a means of embodying a process of reflective healing, focusing on flexibility and vulnerability.  Chance is also important, always guiding me to make the best of what I have to work with.  A provision I have put in place is a ritual circuit, of which I create whilst being mobile.  I use this creative process as a positive for constant creation and an outpouring of emotion which is thoughtful and uplifting.  Colour is safe and joy, like the silver lining, the good days, the butterfly that emerges from her cocoon.  I use rust as a type of disintegrating armour that doesn’t hold up with time, it evokes industrialisation, the manufactured and oppression of capitalist values, the fear of the dark looming moods of the swinging bi-polar-the erratic.  


Ernesto Neto believes we are all nature that is true, it is a big umbrella; yet I like to work also thinking about emotion and culture and in general as Hesse once explained ‘the essential absurdity of life’.  I have been exploring ideas around the way we hold trauma within our bodies, reflecting on the long-term impacts of growing up within the emotional hurricane of living with a parent who is Bi-Polar, both positive and negative and always a flip side.  Reflecting on connections of opposites through processes of improvisation and material experimentation.  Finding inspiration, strength and connection in the human body, soul and emotion that has the power to drive us forward. 


Sally Poltrock is a third-year visual arts student, her arts practice is installation based, exploring the metaphoric potential of rust as reflecting on her experience of living with Ankylosing Spondylitis.  She uses this ‘obstacle’ along with her background in Haute Couture to drive her practice and sculptural experimentation with fabric and rust as a way of tracking movements and motion while exploring ideas around the way we hold trauma within our bodies.  Reflecting on connections of opposites, the Bi-Polar.