Sally Clarke

Visual Artist

Born 1961, Burnie, Tasmania. Currently lives and works in Mittagong, NSW.

Informed by a background in both social sciences and visual arts, Sally Clarke's practice critiques the hierarchical and, in particular, gendered constructions of space and the way spaces, materials, and bodies become defined from one another through the attribution of visual, social and cultural codes. Clarke engages with the way power, and the desire for it, drives such divisions and how this plays out in artistic representations and the cultural contexts from which they emerge. Her works explore how these types of relationships can be re-imagined.

Much of Clarke's earlier work was preoccupied with material and visual significations of domestic space and all that entails. She has also explored how low-status materials, forms and representations can take their position among very public and dominant discourses including high modernism, the master narratives of landscape painting and contemporary conceptual art through media such as paint, plasticine and floor vinyl, and formats that range from two-dimensional surfaces to installation.

Clarke completed her PhD in Philosophy (Fine Arts) in 2008 and, after fourteen years of working as an academic in the Painting and Drawing Department at the College of Fine Arts UNSW, Sydney, established the exhibition space AirSpace Projects (2014-2017) with artist and designer Brenda Factor (also founder of SquarePeg Studios located next door) in 2014. AirSpace Projects was housed in a Marrickville warehouse that contained four galleries, a workshop/seminar area and an outdoor residency project space, Outer Space. After operating as a private concern and exhibiting the work of over 450 artists until December 2017, Clarke transformed the space into a not-for-profit association, AIRspace Projects Inc, so that the space could remain a vital and energetic part of the arts community.  It's website can be viewed here

After spending 2018 tying up ends and handing the entire management of AIRspace Projects Inc to the committee, Clarke and Factor moved to Mittagong in the Southern Highlands of NSW to reignite their art practices in their home-based studios. Clarke remains open to what direction this might take.

Snake Chalmer 2, 2016, plasticine, 400 x 30cm, installed in Drawing Conversations, National Art School. Other works: Brent Hallard (L), Margaret Roberts (M) and Cigdem Aydemir (R). Image: Margaret Roberts.



Sally Clarke, She Bush (installation view, AirSpace Projects), 2015. Image: Fiona Susanto.



Sally Clarke, The Bush Incantation (detail), 2015, plasticine, 275 x 385cm. Image: Fiona Susanto.


Sally Clarke, Big Cow 2, 2014, plasticine on wall, 130 x 130cm. Image: Luminere Imaging.


Sally Clarke, Snake Charmer (detail), 2014, plasticine and glass, 250 x 130cm. Image: Luminere Imaging.


Sally Clarke, Break Down (installation view, Factory 49), 2013. Image: Luminere Imaging.


Sally Clarke, Loose Trousers, 2008, acrylic paint on canvas, 122 x 277cm.  Image: Mixed Media Photographic Studios.


Sally Clarke, My Pink Bush and the Lost Limb, 2004, acrylic paint on plastic coated paper, 44 x 31cm. Image: Mixed Media Photographic Imaging.


Sally Clarke, Floors and Wars, 2004-2010, vinyl, 205 x 205cm. Image: Mixed Media Photographic Studios.


 Sally Clarke and Brenda Factor, Figs in Space installed at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, 2002, mixed media, each leaf 450 x 320 x 100cm (inflated).  Image: Brenton McGeachie.


Sally Clarke, Wall Skin IV, 1998, mixed media on MDF, 35 x 30cm. Image: Lachlan Warner.



 Sally Clarke, Wallflowers, 1997, mixed media, 240 x 240cm. Photo: Sue Blackburn.