SARAH ROBERTS IS FROM A SMALL COASTAL STRIP VILLAGE IN THE EXACT MIDDLE OF WALES, BORNE ONTO AN EDGE, SHE NOW LIVES AND WORKS IN LEEDS and WALES.
Sarah Roberts is a Welsh Artist living and working in Leeds, West Yorkshire. Roberts works with objects, media and images amassing them into complex curated installations and multimedia works. Her dynamic body of work spans sculpture, drawing, collage and installation.
A true collector, Roberts draws inspiration from everyday life, combining mundane materials like plaster, concrete and plastic with domestic detritus and industrial leftovers to create new regenerative environments on an architectural scale. Often incorporating seemingly bizarre blends of material like fans, gravel, glitter, vinyl and lace, the selections are in fact the stage ephemera of real aesthetically rich spaces. Casinos, beaches, hospitals, multicoloured terraces - all re- represented with their guts out and glad rags on, offering a combination of exposed wires ,unnerving remakes, pound shop purchases and careful ceramic counterparts.
Roberts pays attention to generously balancing her playful spaces with underpinning ecological concerns around sustainability. There is a new tantric power to ar0ficial space and objects- an ability of ‘smooth’ manmade space to allow us to relax[ spa’s], to be studious [schools], to be energe0c [gyms], to be sick [hospitals]. These spaces have delineated purpose so we can exist as organic bodies ‘safely’ within them and a clear ‘weird’ yet accepted aesthe0c.
Roberts originally trained as a sociologist, this is reflected in her obsessive taxonomies and non- hierarchical approach to installation - there is a clear duality in the work, in trying to simplify things but producing this mass complexity of material.
In the broadest sense her installations create allow us to question the value that we place on objects and how objects give meaning to the spaces we inhabit. Offering a moment to navigate the prolifera0on of objects and images in everyday life, making visible the in0mate systems, taxonomies and ecologies in which materials carry meaning. On a more personal level Roberts is processing her own personal back catalogue of ephemera and trauma. Keeper of her own archive, with personal experience of familial hoarding and estate clearance, she operates from an internal posi0on in this compulsive arrangement we have with ‘stuff’.
From her vantage point of the artist hoarder, she looks at the world though a personal lens of materiality. Crea0ng installa0ons, texts and collages that reflect on moments, ci0es, public spaces - and in turn offer new emo0onally charged spaces, bodies, architectures, landscapes for the viewer to encounter.
We have distanced ourselves from nature. From the sublime. We trust the too blue hue of a spa better than the sea. The similar, constructed materiality of Roberts’ installations seeks not acceptance or judgement, but to highlight the complexity of the set up. To create a new space for viewers as bodies to have a sense of the sublime, to feel their own organic edges up against the imperfect plas0cs, and the displaced mirrored MDF bedsteads she creates. Using tools of excess, colour and scent, she dis0ls life’s ‘busyness’ into her installa0ons, and provides the viewer with a space for ‘looking’, a medita0on on a fast, full and changing world that we as humans cannot understand and consume easily.
Roberts studied at Chelsea College of Art [UAL] graduating in 2014 with a first class BA in Fine Art, she also has a degree in Sociology from Leeds University [ 2001] and has worked extensively in education and the voluntary sector.
Selected exhibitions include [GROUP] Leeds Artists Show, Leeds Art Gallery, 2023 LOTUS Eaters, Aindrea Contemporary; 2019; Identify Your Limitations Acknowledge the Periphery at VITRINE Gallery Basel, 2017. High Low Show at Laure Genillard, London, 2017. The London Open at Whitechapel Gallery, London 2015. And [SOLO] Everything’s Mustard at Picnic Gallery 2019 and at Saatchi Art 2022; 'CLODDI' at Arcade Gallery, Cardiff, 2019. Torremolinos Tableaux Tongue Twister (Aftersun) at Block 336, London 2017.
Roberts was selected for the 2022 YSI Sculpture Network; 2018 IN- RUINS residency, 2015/16; Chisenhale Into The Wild programme, ACAVA/ArtQuest residency 2014/15; Parasol Unit Exposure Award 2014; Saatchi New Sensations, 2014.
She is Co-founder and Curator at @Hydeparkartclub and @shelf_london and a PT Associate lecturer.