Sarah Staton was born in London, in 1961.
She graduated from St Martins School of Art in 1988.
She lives and works in Sheffield.
'Nor Wolk' contains a series of paintings created whilst Sarah Staton was Henry Moore Sculpture Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University 2002 - 2004. During this period she studied and responded to the architecture of a 1930's building that houses the Central Library and Graves Art Gallery. The paintings depict furniture and objects that sit within soft-toned spaces with awkward geometries and perspectives. Two of the paintings have accretions stuck to their fronts. One of these has the word 'SCULTPURE' shown as if reflected in a mirror. New sculptures have been created for Sarah's exhibition at OUTPOST. They are towers created by stacking coffee table like forms. Combinations of rectangles with rounded corners and circular platforms are used. The sculptures combine found objects with manipulated materials. Some elements are coated with thin layers of paint allowing the wood grain beneath to show through. The colours used to affect the surfaces are similar in their soft tones to those used on the paintings. Two computer-generated images of studies for the towers are also displayed.
A discussion between Kaavous Clayton and Sarah Staton begun at Outpost on 27 February 2005.
Kaavous Clayton: What are the ideas behind your tower sculptures?
Sarah Staton: A tower is an elementary building idea and has the possibility of an endless variation of solutions.
KC: But when you make a tower you're only showing us one of those solutions. How do you decide which one it will be?
SS: Factors like trying to do something that I didn't do before play a part in the deciding of what to do next. Also the room they will be seen in, and the resources available. These towers are contingent, improvised assemblages. I already made a triangular or plectrum shaped tower and at OUTPOST I can make two more towers, one will be circular and one will be rectangular. Yesterday we found an attractive rectangular table with a patchwork veneer, the top of which is the beginning of the rectangular tower. I brought a small circular table with me, and am thinking of getting the Mr Ikea designed stool that is in habitat to go on top of that, and that is the start of a circular tower.
KC: What attracts you to the elements you use?
SS: It is something like a process of breaking aesthetics down to constituent shapes and then reconfiguring them.
KC: In what way do the towers relate to your paintings?
SS: The towers are realised sculptures, while the paintings depict sculptures I could make.
KC: So you've used architectural methods of representation, like axonometric and isometric perspective, in your paintings because they're studies or sketches for making something in 3 dimensions.
SS: The paintings are 2 dimensional, so it seems best to use a more diagrammatic type of drawing on them.
KC: Some of your paintings break away from their two dimensional surfaces, are they becoming sculptures anyway?
SS: They are hovering in a nether land between painting and sculpture.
KC: The objects represented in your paintings have a feeling of awkwardness about them, and some of the painting techniques are quite crude, although used in a sophisticated way. Is there any attempt to make the viewer feel uncomfortable at all?
SS: The pictures have a weird spatial thing going on. Although much of the looking for these pieces has come from observing objects that were made in the early part of the 20th century, I hope that the pictures might actually communicate something of our small new world, the slippage in existence that we all experience as we move continuously between real space and our new frontiers in virtual space.
KC: Your use of computer technology to design your towers also seems to highlight this slippage: designing something virtually and then making it real. When you inhabit a gallery with your creations are you trying to represent, or create, a vision of the virtual world?
SS: Interesting question! The way that these pieces are made is a recipe for the inclusion of many clumsy moments, bad paint jobs and many noticeable 'imperfections', but in the virtual world, the perfect line, the absolute 90 degree angle and even colouration is the norm, so I don't see these pieces as a vision of a virtual world, it is the space between that I would like to capture.
KC: It seems that an ever-decreasing amount of our world is really real.