Olivia Sterling

Overview

Sterling has carved out a distinctive niche in using paint to address questions of blackness and whiteness in twenty-first century Britain. 

Born in Peterborough in 1996 and graduating from the RCA in 2020, Sterling has carved out a distinctive niche in using paint to address questions of blackness and whiteness in twenty-first century Britain. Her paintings present 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 racialised 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. 

 

 

Works
  • Olivia Sterling, ALL EGGS ARE LARGE AND ALL MILK IS FULL-FAT, 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    ALL EGGS ARE LARGE AND ALL MILK IS FULL-FAT, 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    121.9 x 91.4 cm
    48 x 36 in
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  • Olivia Sterling, Viper Blessing, 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    Viper Blessing, 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    80 x 60 cm
    31 1/2 x 23 5/8 in
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  • Olivia Sterling, Believed To Be Effectual, 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    Believed To Be Effectual, 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    100 x 100 cm
    39 3/8 x 39 3/8 in
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  • Olivia Sterling, ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN , 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN , 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    120 x 100 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, CHOC DIP FINGERS, 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    CHOC DIP FINGERS, 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    150 x 100 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, CLINGS LIKE A BAD SMELL, 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    CLINGS LIKE A BAD SMELL, 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    55 x 45 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, CLINGS LIKE A WET SHIRT , 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    CLINGS LIKE A WET SHIRT , 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    91.4 x 61 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, CLINGS LIKE JAM 1 , 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    CLINGS LIKE JAM 1 , 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    91.4 x 61 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, CLINGS LIKE JAM 2, 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    CLINGS LIKE JAM 2, 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    55 x 45 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, CLINGS LIKE TREACLE, 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    CLINGS LIKE TREACLE, 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    55 x 45 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, CONSUMER AFFAIRS #1, 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    CONSUMER AFFAIRS #1, 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    59.4 x 42 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, CONSUMER AFFAIRS #2, 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    CONSUMER AFFAIRS #2, 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    59.4 x 42 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, DADDY'S FRAGILE, 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    DADDY'S FRAGILE, 2021
    Acrylic on linen
    61 x 45.7 cm
    24 1/8 x 18 in
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  • Olivia Sterling, FINGER FAT , 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    FINGER FAT , 2021
    Acrylic on linen
    61 x 45.7 cm
    24 1/8 x 18 in
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  • Olivia Sterling, HOT, DRY, COLD AND WET #1, 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    HOT, DRY, COLD AND WET #1, 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    56 x 45 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, HOT, DRY, COLD AND WET #2, 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    HOT, DRY, COLD AND WET #2, 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    91.4 x 61 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, LIKE A LEECH #2, 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    LIKE A LEECH #2, 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    40 x 40 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, LIKE A TIGHT RING ON A FAT FINGER , 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    LIKE A TIGHT RING ON A FAT FINGER , 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    55 x 45 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, PICKY BITS, 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    PICKY BITS, 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    92 x 62cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, POUND OF FLESH , 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    POUND OF FLESH , 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    120 x 100 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, PRY , 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    PRY , 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    120 x 100 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, PRYING, 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    PRYING, 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    59.9 x 42 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, PULL LIKE A DOG, 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    PULL LIKE A DOG, 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    55 x 45 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, STICKS LIKE A CANDLE , 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    STICKS LIKE A CANDLE , 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    55 x 45 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, STICKS LIKE JUICE , 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    STICKS LIKE JUICE , 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    55 x 45 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, STICKS LIKE WAX, 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    STICKS LIKE WAX, 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    55 x 45 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, THE COLOUR OF SOUP , 2021
    Olivia Sterling
    THE COLOUR OF SOUP , 2021
    Acrylic on canvas
    59.4 x 42 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, THE LION BITE , 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    THE LION BITE , 2020
    Acrylic on canvas
    55 x 45 cm
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  • Olivia Sterling, THE WIFE IS IN TEARS, 2020
    Olivia Sterling
    THE WIFE IS IN TEARS, 2020
    Wax on paper
    27.5 x 20 cm
    10 7/8 x 7 7/8 in
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Biography

B. 1996, Peterborough, England. Based in London, UK. 

 

Education 

2015-2018  BA Fine Art, University of Derby

2018-2020 MA Painting, Royal College of Art 

 

Solo Exhibitions

2021 Solo Show, Guts Gallery, UK (forthcoming) 

2021 White Bread, Cob Gallery, London, UK 

2021 Episodes, CCA Goldsmiths, London, UK (forthcoming)

2021 Selfhood, Berntson Bhattacharjee Gallery, London (forthcoming) 

2021 Safe as Milk, Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh 

2020 Clutching at Straws, Volt, Eastbourne

2020 It Clings like a Leech, Guts Gallery, London

2020 A Cure for Nose Bleeds, Marriots Way, Reepham Norfolk

2018 Who is civilised? Gallery No.1, Repton

 

Group Exhibitions

2020 Curated for Christmas, All Mouth x Bowes-Parris Gallery, London

2020 RCA Black History Online, David Lisbon, Online 

2020 Love your symptom, but not too much, Blank Projects, Cape Town  

2020 A Rudimentary Education, Art Lacuna, London

2020 London Grads Now, Saatchi Gallery, London

2020 Right Back at You, The Function Suite, London

2020 Begin Again, Guts Gallery, Online

2020 BLACK & WHITE, The Orange Garden, Online 

2020 50/50, FOLD Gallery, London

2020 London’s New Contemporaries, A Space for Art, Hari Hotel London 

2020 Materiality and Connection, curated by Joe Hill, RCA, Online  

2020 Optimistic, Singular and New, curated by Jony Ive, RCA, Online  

2020 Urgency, Wit and Rigour, curated by John Bloomfield, RCA, Online  

2020 I Graduated From My Bedroom curated by Victor Wang, RCA, Online  

2020 Slivers and Remnants curated by Esther Leslie, RCA, Online  

2020 RCA2020, RCA, Online  

2020 Tomorrow: London, White Cube, Online 

2020 Without a Painter, Fitzrovia Gallery, London

2020 Snapshot, RCA Hockney Gallery, London

2019 Meet Me in the Kitchen, UCA Farnham, Surrey 

2019 Got it for Cheap, House of Vans, London   

2019 Painting from the Other Side, Dyson Gallery, London

2018 WIP, Sackler, RCA Battersea

2018 Britannia Mill, Derby 

2017 Smoke and Mirrors, Riverlights, Derby, England

2016 Ilam, Staffordshire

2014 Earth without Art, Spalding, England

 

Residencies 

2020 HQI Summer residency, London

2016 Extended Contexts, National Trust IIam, England 

 

Artist Talks 

2020 HoP Around with Alexandria Smith, RCA, London 

2020 Without a Painter in Conversation with Bolane Tajudeen, London

2019 Artist Talk, UCA Farnham

 

Awards 

2018 Pro Vice-Chancellor / Dean's Award 2018 Degree Show Exhibition 

Press
Exhibitions
Video
https://mpembed.com/show/?m=PoBpx1vkuGc&mpu=855&mpv=olivia1%27
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