Olivia Sterling

Olivia Sterling (b. 1996, Peterborough) is an artist based in London. 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.

Solo exhibitions include ‘Dinner with a Show’, Meyer Riegger, Berlin (2022); ‘Manslaughter’, Guts Gallery, London (2022); ‘Yowl’, Nevven, Gothenburg (2022); ‘White Bread’, Cob Gallery, London (2021); ‘Episodes’, Goldsmiths CCA, London (2021); ‘Clutching at Straws’, Volt, Eastborne (2021); ‘It Clings Like a Leech’, Guts Gallery, London (2021).

Her works have featured in group exhibitions including Guts Gallery, London (2024); Ojiri Gallery, London (2023)l Particular Ideas, London (2023); Berntson Bhattacharjee Gallery, London (2023); Huxley Parlous, London (2023); Steve Turner Gallery, Los Angeles (2023); Tube Culture Hall, Milan (2022); PM/AM, London (2022); Sotheby’s, Stockholm (2022); TJ Boulting, London (2022); Quench Gallery, Margate (2022); Soho Revue, London (2022); Somerset House, London (2021); Christie’s, London (2021); Galerie Droste, Paris (2021); Sadie Coles, London (2021); The Perimter, London (2021); Arusha Gallery, Edinburgh (2021); FOLD Gallery, London (2020); White Cube (online), London (2020.

She has completed residencies at Fores Project Residency, London (2021); HQI Residency, London (2020) and Extended Contexts, National Trust England (2016). 

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