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Sarah Kudirka

Work that is "beautiful, layered and thoughtful". Sarah Kudirka explores the shapes and edges of things, and ideas around belonging. Works in oil paint over linen and Polaroids. Founder & curator of KUDIRKA, an artist-led sometimes space in Glasgow.

You know when you find something in your pocket that you picked up then forgot about? Familiar but unknown, a wee treasure, your fingers feel around its surfaces, its edges. Not until you pull it out of your pocket and see it in your hand do you know what it is. Sarah Kudirka’s paintings have long been about exploring the shapes and edges of stuff, kind of like that. 

Described by art critic Jan Patience as “work that is beautiful, layered and thoughtful” these finely worked, exquisitely calm, semi-abstract oil paintings touch on human compassion, ideas of sharing space and belonging. Overtly handmade, Kudirka's work is characteristically incised, scraped, oft-obliterated, deeply textured, colourful surfaces. She paints in oils mainly on linen panels but also applies paint over instant film snaps and onto found objects. 

The artist's semi-abstract practice has been distinctively low-tech for over 30 years – working iteratively with paint, she pulls things apart and rebuilds. Her ‘trashed canvases’ method is a fun, risky, violent, extended process but one that yields her surface textures of tactile softness.

In Kudirka's latest works bowl/boat forms and shell-like swirls bring to mind age-old human stories of journeying across oceans and the gathering and sharing of food. Initially inspired by tideline pebbles and shells, they whisper of coast days - searching in rockpools, skimming stones at the water’s edge and walking on sand dunes. Behind it is also the idea of diaspora and that in ancient times oceans were a conduit not a barrier to the movement of people.

Sarah makes pictures iteratively, over months and sometimes years. Each has its own object memory as she revisits old canvases, ripping them apart to achieve her distinctive surfaces. They are created meticulously from expanses of colour, intricate repeated brushstrokes, and repeated layering, trashing, glazing and wiping back. 

Recent shows in Scotland include exhibitions at Stallan Brand, Tatha Gallery, Kirkcudbright Galleries, Smithy Gallery, South Block Project Space, The Briggait and Art Car Boot Sale Glasgow at SWG3/Patricia Fleming Gallery.

Sarah is founder of K U D I R K A, a new artist-led space in the West End of Glasgow.

As a creative consultant, Sarah had a decade-long affiliation with Arup, the built environment engineering firm. As their inhouse global artist, working with Sir John Sorrell, Sarah developed "The Penguin Pool" from concept to being a successful global events series in 15 major cities worldwide. At Arup she also devised and piloted her "Working Without a Brief" visual thinking training course for designers and other staff.

Sarah is experienced in public-realm art delivery planning and commissioning with UK clients such as Yorkshire Water and Tideway, developers, architects and local authorities.

From 2009 to 2017 Sarah was a charity Board Member/Trustee of ACME Artists Studios in London. She has served as an elected council member of the Society of Scottish Artists and is currently a member of Visual Arts Scotland and Scottish Contemporary Art Network.

While she does not regard herself as a disabled artist, Sarah is partially-deaf.

NB Until 2012, the artist was known as Sarah K. Davenport. Both her degrees and all early-career awards were gained under that name.


Lift Others Up

We Love What We Have, No Matter How Little

Drift and Float

What we take with us and who we leave behind

Have. Live. Do. Become. IV

Colours & Sound series

A flag for the dunes (a bowl, a boat)

Flag for the wind and the rain, our warm bodies and loving words

Fields | Happily So | Outwith

Dialogue (Post-Colonial)


Block / Machine (Post-Colonial)

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