“The feeling of a mark or form; motion, colour, material, craft, perfection, discovery, exploration, surprise, memory, self. These are the foundations of my practice.”
Zara is a fine artist and art jeweller. Born in Cambridge and spending most of her childhood on the North Norfolk coast, she now lives and works in London. She has exhibited her work both in gallery and museum contexts throughout the UK and Europe and welcomes proposals for commissions and collaborative projects.
After graduating from the Royal Academy Schools, she set up her own studio in London in 2008. Since 2009 she has also been one of Brian Clarke's senior art technicians, leading the fabrication of sculptures, paintings, architectural ceramics and design pieces.
Zara creates highly crafted, hybrid sculptures. Works are often constructed through repeated ornamental shapes or structures. The repetitive nature of many components and the slight fetishistic quality of the craftsmanship suggests an obsession with perfection. Works move between concerns with highly ordered, precisely cut structures and a playful, theatrical, sometimes humorous undertone.
Both the smaller objects and monumental structures combine references from architectural ornamentation, traditional fairground art, domestic furniture design and childhood toys. Each sculpture possesses a familiarity, whether it reminds one of an iconic design like the angle poise lamp or the experience of the fair.
Some works are interactive, allowing the viewer to participate in the functioning of the art work. This may involve the pushing of a switch or a more performative element by playing a game. In ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ the viewer has the opportunity to win a flat pack sculpture by playing on an arcade style ‘crane grabber’ machine. The player becomes the entertainment for the other viewers and by winning gets to take part of the sculpture away.
Her practice is in part about the abundance of visual pleasure to be found in the manipulation of forms and materials. One might be mesmerised by the spectacle of flashing fairground lights or the characterful movement of a kinetic object. At the same time they question ideas about their functionality and their positioning in relation to art and design. She is interested in creating works which can simultaneously sit quite comfortably in a design museum, someone’s living room or the conventional white cube art gallery.
The creation of Art Jewellery objects has played a prominent part in Zara's practice since 2014. With her interest in creating pieces which cross disciplines and merge boundaries between fine art, craft and design, she began to make 'wearable collages'. These pieces explore the combination of painting and sculptural materials and processes, with the use of contemporary and traditional jewellery and silversmithing techniques.
Each piece is a unique work, highly crafted by hand. Seeing the artists hand within the works is important. Whether it be in the precisely pierced metal shapes, carved wood reliefs or painted enamel forms, Zara's aesthetics for form, colour, material textures and the perfection of a craft can be seen.
The process of making is important. Every work is the result of the exploration of techniques and materials. Initially working from a sketch, each piece evolves through the making process, spontaneously collaged elements coming together from a methodology of discovery and sometimes surprise.
A strong personal connection with each piece is present, as it is the reaction to a memory of a moment or observation in a place where she has travelled. One might see echoes of a Corinthian column from the Pantheon in Paris, wet moss from a garden in Kyoto or colours of a doorway in Yangon. They are objects which hold memory but are also made to invoke new interpretations and emotions. Whether this be to enjoy the formal qualities or the creation of a new story by the viewer. They are sculptural collages which can equally be displayed on a table, hung on a wall or worn on the body, and hopefully inspire.
2005-2008, Royal Academy Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art, Royal Academy Schools, London
2001-2004, BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art (Painting), Wimbledon School of Art, London
2000-2001, BTEC Diploma in foundation studies (Art and Design), Norwich School of Art and Design, Norwich
2018, Beading Masterclass with Annette Warham, Morley College, London
2018, Soldering Masterclass with Frieda Munro, Morley College, London
2017, Sand casting and Cuttlefish casting, Morley College, London
2017, Learning the art of Keum boo, Morley College, London
2013-2017, Contemporary Jewellery, Morley College, London
2014, Enamelling Masterclass with Jessica Turrell, Morley College, London
2014, Etching with Press Forming, Morley College, London
2013, Comprehensive Jewellery Course, Vannetta Seecharran School of Jewellery, London
2019, New Designers One Year In Development Award, New Designers 2019
2008, The Dunoyer de Segonzac Award, Royal Academy Schools
2008, The Royal Academy Schools Alumni Prize, Royal Academy Schools
2006, The British Institution Award, Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition
2005, Brown & Co Award Winner, Norwich Castle Open Art Exhibition
2012, K Crofts, Private Commission, Cambridge
2009, Land Securities, Dashwood House, London
WORK IN PERMANENT COLLECTIONS
2008, The Red Mansion Foundation, London
2005, Norwich Castle Museum, Norwich