For Sydney-based artist Sarah Contos, art is a means by which to channel and conjure.


Originally from Perth, Sydney-based artist Sarah Contos worked in theatre set design on the west coast and in Europe before completing a Masters of Art at the College of Fine Arts, Sydney in 2010. Since then she has held several solo exhibitions as well as being included in several group shows – including Future Primitive at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2013–2014) – building a name for her sensual forays into soft sculpture, embroidered images and quilted works that broach multiple pop-cultural, personal and art-historical strains and references. Merging the totemic with the kinky and the historical with the science-fictional, Contos works with her materials to draw out emotional and psychological resonances from deep within.

The artist recently completed a major new body of work for the group exhibition Never-Never Land, which was held at Sydney’s Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in collaboration with Melbourne’s Utopian Slumps in June. Featuring a number of relief sculptures comprising screen-printed linen, the exhibition also included several bold new sculptures and hanging works that take her practice in some intriguing new directions.

VAULT spoke with Contos about her wider practice, from manifesting new relationships through art-making, to how her previous life in theatre informs her current work.

Sometimes it can be a dirty word in art, but is there a craft element that informs your practice?

I love craft. I like to work with my hands. For example, it hurts to use chicken wire, but then you are slapping into plaster and smoothing it over and ... Subscribe to read this article in full

AGNSWNGVACCA MelbourneQAGOMA Roslyn Oxley Gallery IMA