Sarah Macdonald MFA

Lecturer in Art & Design

Sarah Macdonald is an artist and lecturer with a background in Fine Art and a practice-based research in painting. Since 2011, when she began teaching at the University of Greenwich as a visiting lecturer, she has worked intensively on the Experimental Studio Practice module emphasising the importance of thinking through making for research practitioners. In 2021 Sarah became a permanent member of staff. She teaches on both the Graphic and Digital Design and Media portfolio at BA and MA level. She has taught as a visiting lecturer at other universities, including Goldsmiths College, Slade School of Fine Art, Wimbledon College of Art UAL and Glyndwr University.

Sarah studied at BA in Fine Art - Textiles at Goldsmiths College and an MFA in Painting at The Slade School of Fine Art, graduating in 2009, when she was awarded the Claire Winston Memorial Award. Her work has been shown in exhibitions at various institutions, including The Drawing Room, APT, and Turps Banana. In 2015 she was an Honorary Research Associate in Post-Graduate painting at the Slade School of Fine Art. Sarah is a board member of Tannery Arts / Drawing Room in London.

As an artist, Sarah makes drawings and paintings from a Tannery studio in South London . Her research explores various visual and conceptual tropes within the discourse of painting including 1940’s handwriting patterns, Scandinavian interior design and motifs in cinematography and literature, specifically contemporary feminist theory.

Sarah’s studio-based research will be developed through a PhD research degree, beginning in 2022.

Responsibilities within the university

  • DESI1213 Experimental Studio Practice, Module Lead
  • DESI1239 Art and Design in Context
  • MEDS1146 Advanced Projects


  • 2015 Honorary Research Fellow in Fine Art in Post-Graduate Painting, Slade School of Fine Art, London.
  • 2009 Clare Winston Memorial Award. 10K grant to develop practice.


  • FHEA, Higher Education Academy Fellowship Award.

Research / Scholarly interests

Sarah’s research revolves around her painting practice. She uses her painting to consider the representation of the domestic interior, a much considered subject throughout modernity. She recently presented a visual exploration of Frances Stark’s text the Architect and the Housewife, printed in 1999 by Book Works London to the Advanced Urban Research Group at Greenwich of which she is a member.

Through her paintings and drawings, patterns and images are layered to build compositions. Sarah is interested in the moment that a familiar everyday object slips into abstract form. Her work invites the viewer to consider the status of form and space through the painting. Templates, drop shadows, scale, and gestural mark-making are used to challenge the presentation of space within the painting.

The re-drawing and re-painting of shapes from observation and memory allow a new representation of spaces and form within pictorial space. References accumulate; ranging from 1940’s handwriting patterns, Scandinavian interior design, to motifs in cinematography and literature; specifically contemporary feminist theory and Autofiction. These references enable Sarah to reconsider vital canonical painting discourse. Painterly gesture and the relationship between drawing and painting and observation are central to this. Thus, the work responds to the work of artists Laura Owens, Charline Von Heyl, Betty Woodman and Raoul de Keyser.

“I want to sustain an ambiguity of interpretation, where shapes can slip in and out of describing identifiable forms, in a similar way to the way that memory operates and plays with the act of recognition. For me, painting can both represent and question verisimilitude, It is the ultimate virtual plane. I want my painting to speak of the familiar and the unfamiliar, the monument and the everyday object.”