Olivia Sterling paints nostalgia-filled pieces to deconstruct complex issues of othering

Lucy Bourton, It's Nice That, 6 Nov 2020


More recently, her thoughts have focused in on “how a marginalised person processes becoming an adult with internalised negative thoughts about their identity,” in a show titled It Clings Like a Leech at Guts Gallery. Unpacking this, the artist’s pieces look to how an individual can dismantle these thoughts – “remove these leeches” – particularly while they may be among people “who either are doing the same, or have the negative thoughts stuck in their minds, and what this means for the person trying to rid of this idea.”

Referencing these two bodies of work as reflecting her thoughts and “the constant ebb and flow of accepting’ yourself but having that challenged by outside influences,” Olivia again references how ultimately this practice is “very helpful to work out these ideas through painting,” she tells us. “As oppression based on skin colour is absurd and confusing, I find myself making paintings that reflect this.”

In turn creating a body of uniquely engaging work which has us feeling very excited for the artist, Olivia is also busy getting ready for three exhibitions she’ll be partaking in during January and February. In particular is her solo show, “where my paintings play with 90s and 00s children’s birthday party aesthetics. So, expect more paintings of food and hands,” offering a new opportunity to see where Olivia’s practice will head next."

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