Sally Walk is a ceramic sculptor who delves into the complexities of the human experience and one’s place in the world. In her latest body of work, Leap of Faith, she addresses the limitations and obstacles faced by women – in particular, imposter syndrome. The sculptures reflect the artist’s own journey of self-awareness and determination, which came from the realisation that even strong and successful women struggle with self-doubt. The artist realised she was subject to such conditioning, with an internal false-narrative formed whilst growing-up in the 70s and 80s. Walk sheds light on the psyche and the self-imposed pressures and criticism that women often place upon themselves due to historical and cultural conditioning, imagining an alternative way of being. A leap of faith is defined as the act of believing something that is not easily believed.
As with all of Walk’s work, her use of form and materials is deeply symbolic of the human condition. The large sculptures presented in this exhibition embody the idea of resilience and strength with their monotone, rounded forms, in defiance of conditioned imposter syndrome. The use of black and white clays and repeated patterning symbolise the contrasts and rhythms of life. The weighty forms narrow as they rise, acting as stepping stones towards flight and, equally, the anchors that hold one back, while organic, bird-like forms are symbols of self-confidence and determination. Reflective of the artist’s commentary on self-doubt, intricate details and use of bright colours suggest a promise of greater horizons and freedoms.
Although based upon her own personal journey, Walk observes that she is not alone in her ties to the pervasive link between imposter syndrome and historic gender-based conditioning. Through her highly personal work she casts her commentary wider, challenging societal norms and expectations that can often limit women’s capabilities and self-confidence. Through her sculptures, she hopes to inspire others to confront and overcome the constraints restricting women’s self-belief. This body of work is a powerful reminder of women’s resilience and determination, asking us to recognize and support the strengths of every individual. The exhibition extolls the power of pushing beyond one’s limits and taking a leap of faith.
Sally Walk is a Melbourne based ceramicist who has been working in clay for over 25 years. She has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. Most recently at Taoxichuan in Jingdezhen, China. Among a slew of accolades, in 2022 she was awarded the North Queensland Ceramics Award and in 2015 she was awarded the Lorenzo il Magnifico Award for Ceramics at the Florence Biennale. Her work is held in private and public institutions internationally including the Yinnge Ceramics Museum (Taiwan) and Jingdezhen International Studio Collection (China)’ and the Seto Cultural Glass and Ceramics Museum in Seto (Japan). Walk is a member of the UNESCO International Academy of Ceramics (IAC). Sally Walk made her Sydney Contemporary debut with James Makin Gallery in 2022.