For more than 50 years, British artist Phyllida Barlow has taken inspiration from her surroundings to create imposing installations that can be at once menacing and playful. She creates tactile, seemingly precarious sculptures that resonate with emotional intensity and the urgency of their creation. These constructions are often painted in vibrant colors and the means of their construction left visible, revealing their inexpensive, industrial materials: cardboard, fabric, plywood, polystyrene, scrim and cement.
Barlow studied at Chelsea College of Art (1960 – 1963) and the Slade School of Art (1963 – 1966). She later taught at both schools and was Professor of Fine Art and Director of Undergraduate Studies at the latter until 2009.
In February of 2019, Barlow created an entirely new exhibition in our Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries, which she conceived as her own interpretation of a residential cul-de-sac. By closing the exit door in the final room, Barlow forced the viewer to turn around and revisit each sculpture anew, from the other side. She created forests of seemingly precarious structures, exploring the full height of the gallery space with looming beams, blocks and canvases.
Photo: © Royal Academy of Arts / Cat Garcia