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Born 1996 Peterborough, Olivia Sterling lives and works in London. Graduated from BA Fine Art at The University of Derby (2018) and MA Painting at the Royal College of Art (2020).
Sterling uses painting to address questions of blackness and whiteness in twenty-first century Britain. Her work presents scenes of colourful mayhem with a nostalgic twist and signature ‘slapstick’ style, combining joyous celebration with a subtle critique of racialised ways of seeing. Blending pointed references like this into her depiction of ordinary scenes and subjects, Sterling’s work reflects on how we are confronted by racialized discourse everywhere in the everyday. Even happy or anodyne spaces are encoded with structures of othering and difference; every object, every skin tone, is assigned its place in a drama that continues beyond the edges of the canvas.
Selected solo exhibitions include It Clings like a Leech, Guts Gallery, London (2020); A Cure for Nose Bleeds, Marriots Way, Reepham (2020); and Who is civilised?, Gallery No.1, Repton (2018). Select group exhibitions include London Grads Now, Saatchi Gallery, London (2020); Love your symptom, but not too much, Blank Projects, Cape Town (2020); 50/50, FOLD Gallery, London (2020); Tomorrow: London, White Cube, Online (2020); A Rudimentary Education, Art Lacuna, London (2020); Right Back at You, The Function Suite, London (2020); Begin Again, Guts Gallery, Online (2020); RCA2020, RCA, Online (2020); Without a Painter, Fitzrovia Gallery, London (2020); Snapshot, RCA Hockney Gallery, London (2019); and Painting from the Other Side, Dyson Gallery, London (2019).
Last updated: 23.06.2021