Sally Thurlow is a multi-disciplinary artist living by the shores of Lake Ontario near Toronto. Her practice, based in sculpture, installation, photography and painting, invites the examination of how cultural and environmental issues impact our communities and shape the future. Her journey to this sculptural installation comes from engaging in the arts, media, travel and discussion. Long walks in our littered nature are a time for collecting and reflection; the distinctive forms she sees sharpening her awareness about her current work.
Sculptural material selections are chosen carefully from a broad variety of substances, symbolic within the meanings of the forms. For several years around a six week artist’s residency in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, she gave voice to a dynamic range of archetypal figures using driftwood, and other ephemera, later adding plexiglass, robotics, etc in Systems Failure, 2016.
Thurlow’s latest work, CROSSROADS challenges our perceptions about our societies, what it means to be Canadian - our attitudes towards shifting power and privilege as new understandings of our cultural histories emerge, and mass immigration from around the world continues to expand our multiculturalism. She invites the public to write their comments on the driftwoods via “bark” papers.
CROSSROADS developed from her 2016 Red Head Gallery exhibition Systems Failure. There, the forms grieved the breakdown of family, as well as larger groups: friends, corporations, political parties, to world organizations, in an ever-spiralling broken system. We were confronted with the visual force of four alienated characters represented by rib-cages, familiar yet uncomfortably strange... with expectations of each other.
Her work has been shown internationally including ARC Gallery, Chicago, Ill, BluSeed Studios and Gallery, Saranac Lake, NY, and Kunsthaus Gallery, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Thurlow received a BA majoring in Fine Arts from the University of Toronto, finishing with Cultural and Environmental Studies at Trent University, with significant earlier studies at OCAD and George Brown College. She has been the recipient of various Ontario Arts Council Awards and has given numerous artist talks and workshops at educational institutions and public galleries. She is a member of The Iris Group and The Red Head Gallery, both artists’ collectives. Her work is held in private collections across Canada, and at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario.