Studio International

Published 22/01/2021

Sara Barker – interview: ‘I tackle sculpture from the position of painting and vice versa’

Glasgow-based Sara Barker talks about how the pandemic has affected her practice and her exhibition, undo the knot, currently on show at CAMPLE LINE


Sara Barker (b1980, Manchester, UK) uses a combination of materials – initially, rougher, cheaper ones, such as cardboard, and, later, more permanent metals such as steel, aluminium and brass, alongside glass and automotive paint – to create works that blur the boundaries between figuration and abstraction; sculpture, painting and drawing; and imagined and physical spaces. The tension in her pieces is felt viscerally by the viewer, who is drawn into a dialogue, already taking place between the works themselves. Heavily influenced by literature, poetry and language, Barker calls for human interaction with her creations.


Her exhibition undo the knot, on show at CAMPLE LINE, includes, for the first time, what Barker describes as “exploratory works” – her initial, rougher “sketches” – which are not yet fully resolved, leaving open questions. Part of her motivation to include these works was the change in her approach to her practice, brought about by the first lockdown, when she became incredibly aware of a sense of having too much, endless time, yet simultaneously of none of it being available. Working from home, instead of her studio, she sought to bring her full daily experience into her work – all of the mundane and profound moments of life.


Studio International spoke to Barker via Zoom about how lockdown altered her practice, the role of tension and fragmentation in her work, and how the building at CAMPLE LINE became a work in the exhibition in its own right.

Sara Barker: undo the knot
CAMPLE LINE, Cample Mill, Scotland
3​1 October 2020 – 30 January 2021

Interview by ANNA McNAY