SALLY WATERMAN, born Isle of Wight, UK, 1974, lives in London. She holds a BA (Hons.) English with Design Arts, University of Plymouth (1995) and MA Image & Communication (Photography), Goldsmiths (1996). She received her practice-based PhD Media and Photography: ‘Visualising The Waste Land: Discovering a Praxis of Adaptation’ from the University of Plymouth, in 2011. Group shows and screenings include ‘Shifting Horizons’, Derby Museum & Art Gallery and Midland Arts Centre, (2000-2001), ‘Forest’, Nottingham Castle Museum, Oriel Davies Gallery, Wolverhampton Gallery and York Art Gallery (2004-2005), ‘What Happens Next?’ Pitzhanger Manor House and Gallery, London (2008), 'Voyage', Künstlerhaus, Dortmund, Germany (2013), 'Bodies of Water', Royal West of England Academy, Bristol (2014), Berlin Experimental Film Festival (2016), Aesthetica Short Film Festival, York (2017), ‘Journeys with The Waste Land’, Turner Contemporary, Margate (2018), The Family Film Project International Film Festival, Porto, Portugal (2019) and 'MK Calling', MK Gallery, Milton Keynes (2020).
She has co-curated artist film programmes, which have also featured her work at Richmond American International University, London; Birkbeck cinema, London; ViSiONA festival, Huesca, Spain; Close-Up cinema, London and CCA, Glasgow. Her photographs have featured on book covers for Virago, Random House, Harper Collins and Faber & Faber and her work is held in public collections including The National Art Library at the V&A, London; The School of Art Institute of Chicago and the Yale Center for British Art, New York. Published works include ‘Performing Familial Memory in Against’ in Picturing the Family: Media, Narrative, Memory, edited by Silke Arnold-de Simine and Joanne Leal (Bloombury, 2018) and ‘Re-imagining the Family Album through Literary Adaptation’ in Global Photographies: Memory–History–Archives, edited by Sissy Helff and Stefanie Michels, (Transcript, 2018). She is an associate lecturer at Ravensbourne University, London and University for the Creative Arts, Rochester and is the founder of the research group, Family Ties Network.
Waterman's interdisciplinary arts practice and research is concerned with the interpretation of literature into an elusive form of self-portraiture. She creates poetic still and moving image works that explore memory, place and familial relationships, drawing upon writers such as Henry James, Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. T.S Eliot’s 1922 poem, ‘The Waste Land’ was used as a framework to examine her self-representational strategies and adaptation methods for her practice-based PhD, which culminated in a series of photographic and video installations (2005-2010). Waterman re-invents the source material through a fragmentary re-scripting exercise, seeking autobiographical associations with certain images, themes, characters or concepts. Indeed, the chosen literary text functions as a mechanism for self-representation, enabling the recollection and re-imagining of memory. By staging the self in this way, difficult, yet universal experiences of illness, conflict, loss and separation are illuminated through adaptation.