Sharon Lockhart works with individuals and groups to make still and moving images that are both visually compelling and socially engaged. Her collaborations sometimes span years, working closely with her subjects to understand aspects of their lives. The resulting films and photographs embody a shared creative experience. The exhibition also becomes a collaboration and an opportunity to think about the representational devices used to frame and engage her subjects and the viewer.
In both Lunch Break (2008) and Double Tide (2009) Lockhart immerses herself in the lives of workers. Lunch Break describes a specific time and place – Maine’s Bath Iron Works at the start of the 21st century. Double Tide is more timeless, documenting the work of a female clam digger working a rare “double tide”— a day when both low tides occur in daylight hours, at dawn and dusk. In each case, the subject is framed by the work place. However in Double Tide labour is connected to nature, light, and atmosphere, and Jen Casad the compelling female figure stands in contrast to the men and the rigid structure of their workplace that defines Lunch Break.
Lockhart continues the theme of strong female figures: Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol (2011), is a collaboration with a group of dancers who worked with Noa Eshkol (1924–2007), an Israeli movement theorist, dance composer, teacher, and artist. In her current project with young people her collaborator is Milena, now 15, whom she met while filming Podworka in Lodz, Poland, in 2009. Podworka consisted of 6 scenes of children playing in the city’s ubiquitous courtyards. Milena’s brother figured prominently in one of the scenes and this is how they became friends. This led Lockhart to research the history of Poland’s orphanages and state homes, where she encountered the work of Polish-Jewish educator Janus Korczak, a noted children’s author and paediatrician who articulated a philosophy that championed the “rights of the child,” their autonomy, individuality, and above all their own voice. For Lockhart, research is crucial forming the basis of an organic process, which she shares with her subjects to develop the work.