Sara Barker BA (Hons)

Job Title:

Lecturer, Painting and Printmaking


Painting & Printmaking



Sara Barker
Mouth, 2020

Sara Barker


Sara Barker

Sara Barker is an artist based in Glasgow, and lectures in Painting and Printmaking at The Glasgow School of Art. Her practice-based research activity is internationally recognised over a 15-year career of solo and collaborative projects, exhibitions, and published work.

‘Growing up on the Isle of Man, the standing stones of Cashtal Yn Ard (a Neolithic Buriel ground) shaped my understanding of art – dense, material, mysteriously figurative manifestations in the landscape to react against, ushered in weightless, barely there precarity in the form of painterly slices made to stand in space defiantly, always conscious though of proximity to hill, stone, sky, light and water.’

Barker’s work encompasses aspects of painting, sculpture and drawing and collage - employing these disciplines and speaking to their associated histories, stretching materials and techniques to their limits. Combining diverse materials such as steel aluminium, brass, glass and automotive paint works span floor and wall, and move between two and three dimensions, reaching into and distorting space to create tension and disrupt surface.

Barker’s research draws upon experimental narrative forms, from the modernist writing of Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Doris Lessing, Hélène Cixous and contemporary fiction of Ali Smith, Alice Oswald, Aya Kōda, and Rachel Cusk. Literature offers up portals for enquiry - the exploration of interior states, fragmented and multiple perspectives, and abstracted landscape. Pictorial space, narrative and the medium are simultaneously fractured, knotted together, snipped, and overlain elsewhere.

Linear metalworks become elaborate drawings in space, their extrusions delineating shapes, letters, characters and signs - the combination of assumed semi-pictorial surface and symbol become allegorical. The linguistic supplements the visual, binding as a final image. Language is a navigational tool, invisibly annotating the work and often literally guiding us around an exhibition via titles, leading our actual bodies through the interconnected psychological space they create.

In recent work the painted image has become increasingly figurative, making fresh allusions to human presence, to narrative and to the natural environment. Suggested scenes emerge from within the metal frames, interrupted or obscured in some way beneath glass and metalwork, with a consciousness of the architecture and boundaries of the gallery setting.