Sara Barker was born in Manchester in 1980. She was educated at Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow. Barker lives and works in Glasgow.
Barker has recently produced site-specific commissions for The BALTIC, Gateshead (in collaboration with Ryder Architects) in 2014, and an outdoor piece for Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh, as part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2013. Barker’s work has been the subject of solo shows at: Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2014); carlier | gebauer, Berlin (2014); BALTIC, Gateshead (2014); Mary Mary, Glasgow (2014); Stuart Shave/Modern Art (2012); Glasgow Project Rooms, Glasgow (2008) and Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (2006) amongst others.
Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum fur Gegenwart, Berlin (2013); Mary Mary, London (2013); Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago (2013); Saatchi Gallery, London (2013); Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2012); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2012); Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow School of Art (2012); Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen (2011); Frith Street Gallery, London (2011); Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York (2003) and Tramway, Glasgow amongst others.
Sara Barker’s exceptionally fine compositions incorporate metal, wood, paint and glass. Typically, her works are composed of irregular beams and poles that form approximations of overlapping rectilinear structures, often with sheets of glass intercepting the open spaces left between the metal and wood. Professing her desire to grasp the impossibility and spontaneity of drawing through sculpture, Barkers work evokes ‘that top-heaviness and precariousness’ of sketching in three-dimensional form. As such, her combinations of bespoke materials challenge traditional perceptions of structural solidity, the lightest often providing the weightiest support for the basis of the sculpture.
Barker’s conceptually intricate work is inspired by late-Victorian and modernist literature such as Virginia Woolf and Ezra Pound, and artists including Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois and Henri Matisse. Barker applies oil, gouache and watercolour to aluminium and steel in soft pastel shades in order to 'activate' her chosen materials and provide liminal streaks of colour that she describes as ‘cracks in a door’ or glimpses into another realm. Her sculptures are completed by the spaces in which they are installed by implementing the negative space around them; resulting in abstract, powerful and dream-like sequences of materials.