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2014 Emerging Artist – Sarah Heath

Sarah-Heath_Direct-Carved-Castings_1Sarah Heath has been known to describe herself as a “metal girl.” And, if you’ve seen her carved castings or know about her history as an artist-in-residence at Sloss Metal Arts, you can understand why that label might be fitting. But, like most labels, it can also be slightly misleading and doesn’t come close to telling the full story.

The power and beauty of Sarah’s work – whether it be in metal, wood, acrylic, video or light – rests in her ability to be delicate. To embody stillness.

I italicize those two words because they are ones that don’t first come to mind when you think about Sarah. She’s tough and funny and certainly never still. This walking bundle of fervor, joy, nervous eagerness, and (equally) silliness and wit operates like she’s being cosmically hit by a new idea every second, and most likely, she is. Her mind and life travels in the speed of full and seems to be driven by an incredible work ethic and compelling need to always be creating new art.

04_HeathSarah_wood-sculpture_72dpi
Let’s admit it; we all love to cling to romantic notions about the “life of an artist.” We imagine hours spent in coffee shops or over a glass of wine contemplating new forms and materials, followed by unconstrained days in the studio prolifically producing extraordinary, highly sellable works. (All the artists can laugh now.) But, in reality, we know this is just a beautiful dream.

18_HeathSarah_Boot-Stamp_72dpiIn Sarah’s case, the reality is that she works multiple jobs, racking up a staggering 60 to 70 hours per week easily, all to support what she jokingly refers to as, “the expensive passion that is being a sculptor.” Adding to that demanding schedule, a steadfast faith in the power of art to change lives has led her to carve out even more time to teach and volunteer in art therapy and outreach programs. Watching her juggle it all is simply mind-boggling.

Yet out of this busy, high energy life, comes this amazing capacity that Sarah has…when she walks into her studio or into a classroom, she grounds. She allows herself to be delicate and still in the process of creating. She’s able to channel all of this incredible energy into work that is infused and alive while exuding calm, weighted yet weightless and light as air, still and pulsing with life.

02_HeathSarah_Birds_72dpiWhen looking at one of her works – take one of the pieces from her illuminated bird series for instance – the lightness and grace of each individual bird is striking. Their grouping, a reoccurring theme in Sarah’s work, creates an undeniable strength. From their position of power and perfect stillness, it’s not hard to imagine those birds lifting from their perches and taking flight. That’s the essence of Sarah’s work.

Process. Stillness. Creation. Flight.

It’s hard to say in which of these steps, the artist finds herself in most wholly, but it’s through the ritual of these steps where she seems most at home.

Essay by:
Jessica Simpson

Owner, Artistic Endeavors
Programming Consultant / Curator, UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center

At the festival, you can find Sarah’s work in Booth 120 adjacent to the Gazebo Info Center on the Fountain Walk.
Click here to read our Blog about Sarah,
plus learn more about the Emerging Artist program at Magic City Art Connection including its past recipients.

More about Sarah:
Sarah Heath received her BFA in sculpture from the University of Kansas and her MFA from the University of Georgia, where she graduated with distinction. While in Georgia Sarah was the gallery coordinator for the Georgia Sculptors Society and an instructor in sculpture and 3D design at UGA. In the past 6 years Sarah has shown in 30 art exhibitions in 8 states across the US. In 2009 she won a “Gold Metal in Fine Arts” Award from Creative Quarterly magazine and was listed in their “New Talent Gallery.” In 2010 she won the Athens Classic Center purchase award from the Juried Athens Sculpture Festival. Sarah has given artist lectures at the University of Alabama Birmingham, Utah State University, Salem Art Works, Piedmont College, Lamar Dodd School of Art and the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art. She has been an artist in residence at Sloss Metal Arts in Birmingham Al, and Salem Art Works in Salem NY. Sarah lives in Birmingham Alabama where she has her studio, based out of The Stream Building and is a teaching artist for the Alys Stephens Center’s art outreach and education program, ArtPlay. Sarah gives workshops at Sloss Metal Arts and Birmingham Museum of Art. She is also currently an art therapy instructor for the Highland’s Center for eating disorders. Most recently Sarah was appointment as the safety director for MAKE (Birmingham’s makerspace). She also volunteers her time by making art with children at aTeam Ministries, a local non-profit organization that helps childhood cancer victims.

You can view works by Sarah at www.sarahheath.carbonmade.com.

Photo credits:

Direct Carved Casting photo by Jonathan Purvis
Wooden Tornado photo by Leslie Burns
Birds photo by Ed Heath, Jr.