Scotland Foundation Circle

Sara BarkerPier Arts Centre, Orkney, 2017

Outset Scotland was immensely proud to gift Sara Barker’s sculpture washable colour to the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, Orkney.

Sara Barker, washable colour, 2012

Barker’s practice traverses and blurs the thresholds between sculpture, painting and drawing; using these disciplines, and in turn their associated materials and techniques, as a way to create space, both physically and metaphysically.  Barker draws on inspiration from Modernist and Post-Modernist (and primarily feminist) writers, such as Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Doris Lessing, Hélène Cixous and Aya Koda.

To mark the acquisition of Barker’s washable colour by the Pier Arts Centre, a public conversation was held between the artist and Dr Kirstie Skinner, Director of Outset Scotland.  An excerpt from their discussion of Barker’s work can be found here.

washable colour was displayed in the Centre for the first time in the exhibition ‘Ten Years of Contemporary Collecting’, from 9 February to 30 December 2017.  Contemporary additions, such as washable colour, provide new insight into the Pier Arts Centre’s core collection and create an active dialogue between twentieth and twenty-first century works, offering fresh perspectives and insights into the historic core, and vice versa.

Sara Barker (b. 1980 in Manchester) studied at the Glasgow School of Art and lives and works in Glasgow.  Selected solo exhibitions include: a weak spot in the earth, The Approach, London (2017); CHANGE-THE-SETTING, Ikon, Birmingham & Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (both 2016); for myself & strangers, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2014); I become almost a shadow, carlier | gebauer, Berlin (2014); The subtle knife with Ryder Architecture, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2013).  Group exhibitions include: Geographies of Dust and Air, Mary Mary, Glasgow (2016); Signal Failure, Pace, London (2015); The End of the 20th Century: The Best Is Yet to Come, Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum fur Gegenwart, Berlin (2013); New Order: British Art Today, Saatchi Gallery, London (2013); The Geometry of Things, GAK, Bremen (2013); Tracing the Century, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2012); Pink Caviar, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (2012).

The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, Orkney was established in 1979 to provide a home for an important collection of British fine art donated by the author, peace activist and philanthropist Margaret Gardiner (1904 – 2005).  The permanent collection includes works by major twentieth-century artists Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and Alfred Wallis, amongst others, as well as contemporary art by Sean Scully, Eva Rothschild and Olafur Eliasson.  The collection also includes local artists including Sylvia Wishart and Stanley Cursiter.  Although small, it is regarded as one of the finest collections of the period in the UK.  A Recognised Collection of National Significance to Scotland, key works are regularly loaned to prominent exhibitions around the world.  The Pier Arts Centre is a partner of Tate, and exchanges programmes, ideas and skills with the Plus Tate network of visual arts organisations across the UK.  The Centre also has a valuable library and archive which is accessible to the public, and runs a programme of education and outreach activities for groups of all ages.