Sarah uses diverse media and mediums to investigate current interests and obsessions, producing an expanded notion of sculpture with a regard for sculpture’s social potential.
Staton exhibits internationally and her work has been included in exhibitions at Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Osan Museum of Art, South Korea; the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Yorkshire, UK; Tate Modern, the V&A and the Serpentine Gallery, London, UK.Staton works with architectural practices including Hawkins Brown, muf and SCABAL on embedded artworks.
Prior to joining the RCA Staton worked as a visiting lecturer at the Royal Danish Academy, Funen Art Academy, Edinburgh College of Art, The Slade, Central St Martins, the University of Sheffield, and Sheffield Hallam University.
Staton studied Fine Art at Central St Martins and lives and works in London.
Sarah creates sculpture for a variety of contexts, including the gallery, the book and the public realm. Through allusions to utilitarianism, and an exploratory use of synthetic and natural materials, she devises spaces, objects and arrangements that are marked by their socio-economic reality, seeking a modest purpose – to enable revelry and reverie.
Sarah uses materials' affective dimension – their ability to trigger associations and psychological responses – to supplement the established modernist coupling of form and function with a third term, feeling – an important but elusive texture for public art and urban design. Through 'threshold sculptures' which are simultaneously formal and functional, aesthetic and utilitarian, her off modern practice questions how design and the specific haptic properties of materials can dynamise site and experience.
Collaboration is a significant strand of Sarah's practice that informs the public commissions she has delivered for museums, theatres, and other outdoor situations.
Collaborations with other artists are an ongoing thread that began early in her practice with the creation of MILCH, 1991 and SupaStore 1993. THE SCHTIP 2013, with Giles Round, an artist’s space as artwork presented an accumulative exhibition program in a Sheffield coffee shop. More recently THE SCHTIP has worked with Grizedale Arts on shortlisted designs for a Cricket Pavilion for Coniston Village, and speculative proposals for Grosvenor Estate. pea proposals with Demelza Watts documents public art proposals as a mechanism with which to explore the materials, forms and politics of public art in the 21st century.
Current public projects include significant public art commissions for three sites to the Western extent of the London Super Sewer and Alphonse (2019 ), a bespoke brick and tile inhabitable archway for a lakeside side situation at Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
Studio Eine Phantastik
For the exhibition Studio Eine Phantastik (2018) at Shedhalle, Zurich, Sarah worked with the curatorial team to produce chromatic display structures, Sockel Tables and other devices to support techonology, artefacts, books and documents.
Sarah's SupaStore Air was presented in THE GEO POLITICS OF MONETIZED AIRSPACE — Come Fly with Me, I Meet You by the Airside Gucci Concession at 4, Fox Fur Hat, 2017 at Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis; a duo exhibition with Martha Rosler curated by Egija Inzule. Staton’s SupaStore, the proto pop up, was established in the early 1990s as a vehicle for exploring relations between art and commerce. The ongoing project was re-staged as SupaStore Human, We are the Product, Dikeou Pop Up, Denver, Colorado, 2018 and Curated by…., The Century of the Bed, Emmanuel Layr Gallery,Vienna 2014, and Tina, Yvonne Lambert, Berlin, 2015.
The Esperanto of Currency
The Esperanto of Currency, 2015 at filet Artspace, London, comprised a series of stitched paintings on metallic foils and a cast black concrete threshold work all with the same motif created as a monogram of international currency symbols. Filet is directed by Rut Blees Luxemburg and Uta Kogelsberger.
Edith & Hans
With Field Art Projects she created Edith & Hans for Bristol University at Stoke Bishop, 2015/16. Edith & Hans is a room without a roof for a high meadow within student housing. Constructed from bespoke terracotta tiles and recycled brick, the sculpture sits into the landscape, and is angled to the sun to harness heat. This is a dreaming space for youth, a space for lingering long into a summer evening.
Staton participated in the Folkestone Triennial in 2014. Steve, her sculptural pavilion, is conceived as a monument to a man of the future, skilfully eludes a precise siting in time. Built from Corten Steel with verdant fennel plants, Steve has been acquired for the permanent collection Folkestone Artworks.
Publications, exhibitions, other outcomes
Fish Finger Sandwich, a publication. Cubitt, London.
Studio Eine Phantastik at Shedhalle Zurich, CH
Academia Biennial, Bolzano, I
Fishfinger Sandwich, app tour for Art Night, with Grad London, UK
On Paper, British Council Travelling Exhibition, museums across UK and Scotland
Dialogues with a Collection, Laure Genilard Gallery, London, UK
Curated by Adam McEwen, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, USA
Peace Love and Anarchy equals Freedom and Fun Forever, Horse Hospital, London. Group exhibition that documents 64–65 Guilford Street, first venue for Milch Gallery established by Lauren Maben and Sarah Staton in 1989
SupaStore Human/We are the Product, Dikeou Pop Up, Denver, Colorado, USA:
Faux Amis Simon Lee Gallery, with Merlin Carpenter, London, UK
House of Ferment with Karen Guthrie and Grizedale Arts, Hauser and Wirth, Somerset. Harris Gallery, Preston, UK
A Fair Land, Live Work, IMMA, Dublin. Grizedale Arts, Coniston Institute, Cumbria, UK
Teesside World Exposition of Art and Technology, MIMA, Middlesbrough, Teesside, UK
The Esperanto of Currency, FILET project space, by Rut Blees Luxemburg and Uta Kögelsberger, London, UK
24/7 Business, ldnldn.london, by Matthew Richardson, Balfron House, London, UK
Mush shrooms, 4Cose, London, UK
Tina, Yvonne Lambert, Berlin. With Nobutaka Aozaki, Nils Bech, Juliette Blightman, Croco Chanel, Manfred Erjautz, Stano Filko, Margaret Honda, Mikołaj Małek, Bonny Poon, Sarah Staton, Mitchell Syrop. Organised by Rita Vitorelli and Christian Kobald with Tenzing Barshee
Look Out, Folkestone Triennial, Kent, UK
Curated by_Vienna 2014, Curated by Egija Inzule: The Century of the Bed with Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Morag Keil, Mélanie Matranga, Bonny Poon, Josephine Pryde, Sarah Staton
Shorts, short film created with Karin Ruggaber; music by Konkreet Mickza, screened at Babylon Cinema, Berlin, D
Parts and Labour, Divised by Brighid Lowe and John Chilvers. Camberwell Space, London, UK
A Thing is a Thing is a Thing, The Minories, Colchester, Essex, UK
Not Quite Mrs De Menil’s Liquor Closet, Devon Dikeou Projects, Nada, Miami
XYZ, Augmented Reality Commission, Site Gallery, Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK
Fields of Contention, Huddersfield Gallery, Yorkshire, UK
Modernism has Two Faces, Simon Bill, with Eva Berendes, Enrico David, Karin Ruggaber, Sarah Staton. Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Scotland
Fifteen, Collaborative Work with Theo Burt, Haroon Mirza, Giles Round and Sarah Staton. S1 Artspace, Sheffield, UK
A Clump of Plinths, The Lowry, Salford, UK
Prunes Potatoes Pears and Prisms, New Art Centre, UK
Exploring Traditions in Contemporary Design, Price Tower Arts Center, Bartelsville, OK, USA
How They Met, Duo exhibition with Josephine Pryde featuring Ellen Cantor. Bleich Rossi Gallery, Gabriela Senn Gallery, Vienna, Austria
Stacks Sticks Shucks Sucks, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK
In situ Ex situ, Mount Stuart, Bute, Scotland
Nor Wolk, Tsingou Gallery, London, UK
kissingcousins, research exhibition with Jane Simpson. HMI, Leeds, UK
Blickachsen, House of the Red Baron, Bad Homberg, Germany
Made in Sheffield, Museums Sheffield, UK
Artist Books and Catalogues
Grizedale (2016) A Fairland, vol 1 Eating, IMMA Dublin and Grizedale
Pryde, J. (2015) The Enjoyment of Photography, Kunsthalle: Bern
Folkestone Triennial 2014 (2014) Creative Foundation
The Century of the Bed curated by Vienna (2014), Verlag fur Moderne Kunst
Cooper, J., Hughes, D., (2013) Post Card Narratives, London: ROOM Books
Staton, S and Chiles, P. (eds.) (2012) Steve, University of Sheffield
Abrahams, T. (ed.) (2012) Ideas Exchange the Studio of Hawkins Brown, London: Birkhauser
Cooper, J. (2012) Artists’ Postcards: A Compendium, Reaktion Books
Clayton, K. (2012) A thing is a thing, Colchester School of Art
Sculptors Drawings (2012) Pangolin Press
Staton, S. (ed.) Bussell, D. (2011) Modernism has 2 Faces, Scotland: Mount Stuart Trust (exhibition catalogue)
Staton, S (ed.) Wigglesworth, S and Wood, J. (2010) A Clump of Plinths, The Lowry (exhibition catalogue)
Lilley, C., Searle, A. (2008) Shucks Sucks Sticks Stacks, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (exhibition catalogue)
Staton, S. (ed) Curtis, P. (2007) In Situ Ex Situ, Scotland: Mount Stuart Trust (exhibition catalogue)
Staton, S., Simpson, J., Raikes, S., (2007) kissingcousins, Leeds: HMI
Staton, S. (ed.) Pryde, J. (2001) Anti Paintings, Art Lab (catalogue essay)
Alphonse (2019), Brick Sculpture for Milton Keynes
Tideway Super Sewer (2018-2020) Acton, Hammersmith and Fulham
Edith & Hans (2016), Public Realm Commission for University of Bristol
The Esperanto of Currency (2015), Threshold Sculpture of FILET project space, London
Bella & Max (2015), Shortlisted designs for Teesside University
Steve (2014), Public Realm Commission for Folkestone Triennial
Harold & Maude (2014), Public Realm Commission for Essex & Suffolk Water
Hugo and the Sculpture Terrace (2012), New Art Gallery, Walsall. Commission to create outdoor room with sculpture, furniture and planting scheme on the 4th-floor Sculpture Terrace
Furniture (2010), Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, UK integral artworks for the theatres internal spaces
Current and recent projects
Joseph, Sybil and Duncan, 2020
Permanent sculptures for the Tideway Super Sewer at Acton, marking the Western extent of this large infrastructure project, Joseph, Sybil and Duncan, are 3 tall towers created from cast stone and bronze.
Two Herons, 2020
Permanent sculptures for the Tideway Super Sewer at the new riverside park at Fulham, 2 large bronze herons adorn the exterior walls of the 20m extent of the kiosk that runs down to the river bank.
A bronze plaque with a quote by sparky Queen Caroline of Brunswick hangs on the modest modernist Hammersmith pumping station.
A permanent inhabitable outdoor artwork at Milton Keynes, created from terracotta and bespoke brick, locating the work within its industrial histories and to create tactile experience. Milton Keynes Council.
Edith and Hans, 2016
A permanent inhabitable outdoor artwork in Bristol, that uses the heat retaining properties of terracotta to warm the bodies of those who linger long into a summer evening. University of Bristol.
Sculptural Pavilion for the Folkestone Triennial 2014.
pea proposals, 2015
pea proposals is a research group that looks at the politics of public art. Founded in June 2015 by Sarah Staton and Demelza Watts.
THE SCHTIP, 2013
Artist-run space programmed by Giles Round and Sarah Staton.
In 2013, THE SCHTIP held exhibitions by Jess Flood-Paddock, Florian Roithmayr, Laure Prouvost, Pelles Empire, Josephine Pryde and Cullinan Richards.
Architectural project for Grizedale Arts
Shortlisted in open-call competition for the redesign of the Coniston Cricket Pavilion.
Arts Council of England Research Grant 2013
Shortlisted for Brick Award 2017
UK Landscape Award for Artworks at Abbey Orchard Westminster 2012
University of Sheffield Festival of the Mind Award 2011
NYC Type Directors Club Award. Awarded to catalogue A Clump of Plinths (designed by N. Jacek) 2010
Lowry Centre/Transformations Commission 2009
Arts Foundation, London, UK, Award for Sculpture 2008
D & AD Award. Given to catalogue, Sticks, Stacks, Shucks. Sucks (published by YSP; designed by N. Jacek and tDR) 2008
Research is central to Staton's practice. Her focus on materials and skills employed within specific geographical and socio-economic contexts tie each project explicitly to its site, its history and people – and is often developed in collaboration with local construction/craft professionals.
Through a radical juxtaposition of the natural, artificial and synthetic, Staton's aesthetic refers to both traditional fabrication cultures; textiles, woodwork, metalwork and so on, as well as to digital culture; its screens, colours, textures and its incursions into lived time. One central trope and architectural reference has been the waiting space, a symbol of the social stasis brought on by economic downturn that inadvertently also facilitates thought and reverie.
Her many iterations of this structure evoke summerhouses and pavilions as much as bus stops and departure lounges – places poised between present and future, entropy and possibility.