Critic’s choice


Over the coming months Sally will be inviting a wide range of people to choose their favourite image from the What Makes You, You? project.


Sheila McGregor
Sheila McGregor has worked as a curator, independent consultant and senior arts manager in many different places, including Birmingham Art Gallery and the landmark New Art Gallery Walsall. She has been director of Axis since 2009 and was Chair of Sheffield Contemporary Art Forum from 2006 to 2012.

Sheila’s choice: number 35
My loved ones, and my annoying laugh, inspired by Amy Dunbabin

“Gosh, this has been a difficult choice, as I like all the statements that people have provided and the way in which Sally has translated ideas, insights and emotions into something visual. But Amy Dunbabin’s tribute to the importance of loved-ones and the power of laughter really struck a chord with me. I love how Sally has represented the infectious nature of Amy’s ‘annoying laugh’ as a wave or ripple that envelops all around her. It makes me want to laugh myself.”


Annabel Lucas
Independent Curator and Visual Arts Advisor

Annabel’s choice: number 63
I’m interested in how we are all connected in some ways what makes me me is what connects me to other people and what connects me and other people to the rest of the word, the universe and everything else, inspired by Catherine Rogers

“It is extremely hard to choose just one drawing as they are all so engaging and yet so different. I have selected number 63, both because Catherine Roger’s answer struck a personal chord with me, and because the image represents Sally’s working process so well. Visual art is such a strong way of representing existing connections and creating new connections for us… and Sally’s project achieves this so readily and imaginatively. We get to a point in our lives when we really appreciate being ‘the sum of all connections’ we have made, with people, places, history, ideas…

For me, drawing 63 demonstrates Sally’s compulsive and obsessive working practice; a day over-taken by hours of drawing this complex web of connectivity. Her typically bright palette may be absent, but the image is dramatic and appears to oscillate in front of one’s eyes – as though new connections are being made and existing connections being impacted…”


Kate Brindley
Kate has worked in the Visual Arts and Museums sector for over 20 years, 11 years as Director of three UK institutions – Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Bristol Museums and since 2009 Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. She is an advisor to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Chair their Our Museums programme and she is Vice Chair of the AV Festival North East.

Kate’s choice: number 88
Being me, where I am, when I can, inspired by Sue Brooks

“Sally’s ipad paintings are just so full of life with its complexities, pleasures and pains, so choosing one is dependant on your mood and your moment as much as anything. It’s a sunny day (at last!) so I was drawn to number 88 because of its beautiful sky, which we all adore, the field of brilliant red flowers and the exuberant figure jumping for joy at being alive on such a day and in such a place. I guess I also was attracted to Sue Brooks’ phrase as she is spot on, that we need to be ourselves and be real, only that leads to true happiness. Sally’s paintings speak of that authenticity and love of life to me.”


Natasha Howes
Natasha is Curator, Manchester Art Gallery and Producer at Manchester International Festival (2013). Her curatorial career spans over 15 years. She worked at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham for several years before making the move to Manchester Art Gallery where she has curated several high profile exhibitions.

Natasha’s choice: number 127
Learning how to build a museum is making me me. And it consumes all my time and focus, inspired by Jef Bourgeau

“I was immediately drawn to the graphic nature of this drawing and the almost pictogram representations of architecture. But these striking images resonate with me particularly as during my career I have been involved in two capital building projects for the galleries I have been working in. The first one, Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery, was a conversion of a former Victorian school and has a clock tower similar to the one in the drawing. I find contemporary art in historic settings particularly meaningful as it talks to me of the continuity of art and history. Pre-Raphaelites, French Impressionists, Renaissance artists were all contemporary in their day. The second building project was an extension to the C19th galleries of Manchester Art Gallery. My favourite spot in the whole building is where new meets old, a glass bridge on the first floor where you can touch half way up the exterior of the original neo Greek architecture.

Luckily I wasn’t involved in the nuts and bolts of the detailed design on either project but can step back and appreciate the architecture without knowing the blood, sweat and tears which went into it. This drawing takes a step back too, allowing us to see the main shapes of a building without getting involved in the finishes of the skirting boards, the floor loading or what the toilet door handles will look like.”


Ceri Hand

Initially trained as an artist, Ceri Hand has previously acted as Director of Metal (Liverpool), Director of Exhibitions, FACT (Liverpool, where she was a contributing curator to Liverpool Biennial in 2004 and 2006), Deputy Director of Grizedale Arts, Cumbria and Director of Make, London. She established Ceri Hand Gallery in Liverpool in 2008 and has recently relocated the gallery to London.

Ceri’s choice: nunber 179
Never thinking as people expect me to, inspired by Louise Wiseman

“I like most of these iPad drawings by Sally (especially as they really reflect the texts) but I chose this image first as I guess it relates to how I feel currently – like I’m trying to build something on a precarious platform in an ocean of pink! I like the saccharin colours for an optimistic nature/nurture image, the Howard Hodgkin inspired border and the seemingly simple composition which belies a rather profound endeavour. It’s all about the journey right? Build it and they will come? I like Louise’s chutzpah in her statement – it’s important to be your own person and trust your instinct, even if it seems crazy to others!”