Sally Waterman is an artist based in London who creates autobiographical photographic and video works that explore memory, place and familial relationships through literary adaptation. She was awarded her PhD in Media & Photography at the University of Plymouth in 2011.
Waterman's video and photographic works have been exhibited and screened extensively since 1996, including Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales, Pitzhanger Manor House and Gallery, London, Kunstlerhaus Dortmund, Germany, Royal West of England Academy, Bristol and Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India. Her work is held in public collections including The National Art Library at the V&A, London, John M. Flaxman Library at The School of Art Institute of Chicago and the Yale Center for British Art, New York.
She has co-curated several film programmes including 'Tracing Ancestral Homelands' at Richmond American International University, London (2012), 'Family Ties: Re-Framing Memory' at Birkbeck cinema, London (2014), 'I'll Tell You My life: Remembering' at ViSiONA festival in Huesca, Spain (2016) and 'Filming the Personal' at Close-up, London and CCA, Glasgow (2016-2017). She was a visiting fellow at the University of London (2011-2012), where she organised the 'Family Ties: Recollection and Representation' conference, and is a founder member of the Family Ties Network research group.
The 'Translucence' series serves as a reflection on the fragility of life, investigating Waterman's experience of mourning and loss. The collection of three moving image works interpret instrumental tracks from Donna McKevitt’s musical score, 'Translucence' (Warner Classics, 1998), based on Derek Jarman's writing.
‘February’ (2011) traces the artist’s catamaran sea journey to the Isle of Wight to attend the funeral of a family friend, who suddenly passed away at the age of 44. The passing seascape becomes representative of her confrontation with loss, ending with the shadowy depths of the pier, which operates as a visual metaphor for the ceremony that lies ahead.
'Against' (2014) plays with the perception of family memory through a series of repetitive gestures, performed by the artist in response to Mckevitt's score. The desire for attachment, coupled with an unsettling sense of separation is implied as Waterman attempts to embody the projected images she took of her grandmother, just before she died twenty years ago.
The accompanying series of twenty image/text photographs elaborate upon the theme, drawing upon Jarman's books, 'Chroma' (1994) and 'Smiling in Slow Motion' (2000), together with literary quotations sourced from works by Kate Chopin, Emily Dickinson, T.S Eliot, Sylvia Plath and Christina Rossetti.