Sharon Boothroyd is a London-based photographic artist whose work has been exhibited worldwide in many prestigious festivals and galleries, and is held in public collections such as the V&A Library, the Yale Centre for British Art and PhotoIreland Foundation.
Sharon also lectures at the Royal College of Art, where she is undertaking a PhD – and unsurprisingly, one of the first things you notice when talking to Sharon is her immensely deep and appreciative knowledge of her discipline, and wider art movements in general.
What stands out beyond even that is the beautifully empathetic nature of her work. One of the goals of her PhD research project is to reduce stigma and raise public awareness of psychosis; she describes it as an ‘urgent feminist enquiry’ seeking to subvert the gender power dynamics in the usage of labels such as ‘hysteria’ and ‘madness’. The ongoing process, as we learned from Sharon’s visit to the Birmingham Sputnik Hub, is also a research project into the world itself, the abuses of psychotherapy, the complicity of art in the mistreatment of women: and into Sharon herself.
But you needn’t be an academic to understand the power of Sharon’s work. A recent project, SW, is a simple documentation of the characters, buildings and wildlife that make up South West London; capturing respectfully the simple dignity of everyday ‘others’ in her local community. Even her more abstract or experimental work has, at its heart, a raw human-ness and humility, a breaking down of artifice in the pursuit of honesty, be that painful or otherwise.