Phyllida Barlow

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Phyllida Barlow
Born 4 April 1944
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Nationality British
Education Chelsea College of Art
Known for Sculpture

Phyllida Barlow (born 4 April 1944, Newcastle upon Tyne, England) is a British artist who primarily creates sculptures and large installation pieces.[1] Barlow was also a professor of art for more than forty years and is a Professor Emerita at the Slade School of Fine Art, where she taught artists such as Tacita Dean, Rachel Whiteread and Douglas Gordon.[2] In 2011, Barlow became a Royal Academician Elect.[3] She currently lives and works in London.[1]

Phyllida Barlow RIG, Hauser and Wirth 2011 Image courtesy of Hauser and Wirth"

Early life and education[edit]

Phyllida Barlow was born on 4 April 1944[4] in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.[1] Her mother, Brigit (or Biddy), was an author and her father, Erasmus Darwin Barlow, was a doctor and later a private businessman, who was also a great-grandson of the famed scientist Charles Darwin.[5] She has a sister named Camilla and a brother named Jeremy.[5]

Barlow studied at the Chelsea College of Art from 1960-1963.[6] She has mentioned that it was her professor George Fullard who first opened her eyes to using non-traditional materials in sculpture.[7] At Chelsea College she also met her husband, the writer and artist Fabian Peake.[2] Barlow later attended the Slade School of Fine Art from 1963-1966 to further study sculpture.[6] Barlow and her husband have five children together.[2] Her son Eddie Peake is also a contemporary artist.[8]


"dock" (2014) by Phyllida Barlow at Tate Britain

"Things aren't just visual. They are sensations of physicality". – Phyllida Barlow in Modern Painters, Summer 2011

Barlow creates what she calls "anti-monumental" sculptures, large-scale works that are undermined as monuments by her use of inexpensive, low-grade materials like cardboard, fabric, plywood, polystyrene, scrim and cement.[9] Barlow's sculptural practice is centred on her experimentation with these materials and the process of re-contextualising them to create large-scale, three-dimensional collages.[10] Her constructions are often crudely painted in industrial or synthetic colours, resulting in abstract, seemingly unstable forms: the seams of their construction are simultaneously revealed and concealed. Often appearing unstable and ephemeral, Barlow’s work constantly reinvestigates the possibilities of form, mass and volume.

Drawing also plays an important role in Barlow’s practice. Her works on paper echo the rough surfaces of her sculpture and play with matter and space. The drawings are made independently of the sculptural works and are not preparatory sketches but works in their own right.

From 2003-2004, she participated in the CentralTrak Artist Residency in Dallas, Texas.[11] In 2009, she stopped teaching in order to focus on her own work.[12] Since 2010, Barlow has been represented by Hauser & Wirth, London.

Selected Solo Exhibitions[edit]

  • PENINSULAR, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, England (2004)[1]
  • SKIT, Bloomberg Space, London, England (2005)[1]
  • Remnants, Dallas, 2003, MAC, Centre for Contemporary Art, Dallas TX (2005)[1]
  • Under Over, Canary Wharf, London, England (2007)[1]
  • Ramp Tower Flags, Galerià Jesús Gallardo, León, Mexico (2007)[1]
  • New Sculpture: In the Gallery and Grounds, New Art Centre, Roche Court, London, England (2007)[1]
  • STINT, Mead Gallery, Warwick Art Centre, Warwick, England (2008)[1]
  • STACK, FENCE, Southbank Centre, London, England (2008)[1]
  • BRAKE, One in the Other Gallery, London, England (2009)[1]
  • BLUFF, Studio Voltaire, London, England (2010)[1]
  • SWAMP, V22, London, England (2010)[1]
  • STREET, BAWAG Contemporary, Vienna, Austria (2010)[1]
  • RIG, Hauser and Wirth, London, England (2011)[1]
  • Cast, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany (2011)[1]
  • siege, New Museum, New York NY (2012)[1]
  • Phyllida Barlow: Bad Copies, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, England (2012)[1]
  • BRINK, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany (2012)[1]
  • ...later, Hauser and Wirth, New York NY (2012)[1]
  • HOARD, Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach FL (2013)[1]
  • Scree, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines IA (2013)[1]
  • Duveen Commission, Tate Britain, London, England (2014)[1]
  • Phyllida Barlow. Fifty Years of Drawing, Hauser & Wirth, London, England (2014)[1]

Selected Group Exhibitions[edit]

  • New Acquisitions: Works on Paper, Phyllida Barlow, Cecil Johnson-Soliz, Sarah Stanton, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, England (2005)[1]
  • Merveilles du Monde, Musee de L'Art Contemporain, Dunkirque, France (2005)[1]
  • Arte Fiera Bologna, Fiera Internazionale d'Arte contemporanea/International Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Bologna, Italy (2005)[1]
  • Ebb and Flow, RAID Projects, Los Angeles CA (2006)[1]
  • Entre Muros (Between Walls,) The Thomas Chavez Morado Gallery and Attrium, Dallas TX (2006)[1]
  • Wandering Star, GANA Art Centre, Seoul, Korea (2006)[1]
  • Please Close the Gate: Painted Sculpture at Roche Court, Royal Academy, London, England (2006)[1]
  • etc..., Amagerfaelledvej Art Project, Copenhagen, Denmark (2007)[1]
  • Art 38 Basel, The Swiss Exhibition Centre, Basel, Switzerland (2007)[1]
  • Entre Muros (Between Walls,) Galeria Casa de los Manos, Leon, Mexico (2007)[1]
  • Prospects and Interior Sculptors, Drawings of Inner Space, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, England (2008)[1]
  • The Real V22 Sculpture Exhibition, The Almond Building, London, England (2009)[1]
  • Nairy Baghramian and Phyllida Barlow, Serpentine Gallery, London, England (2010)[1]
  • Old Ideas, Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2010)[1]
  • Under One Umbrella, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Germany (2010)[1]
  • Displaced Fractures - Über die Bruchlinien von Architekturen und ihren Körpern, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, Switzerland (2010)[1]
  • Open Space, Art Cologne, Cologne, Germany (2011)[1]
  • Sculptural Acts, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2011)[1]
  • Before the Law, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany (2011)[1]
  • ARTISTS for Kettle's Yard, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, England (2011)[1]
  • Human Capsules. Eight Female Artists from the Ursula Hauser Collection, Lokremise, St. Gall, Switzerland (2012)[1]
  • The Best of Times, the Worst of Times. Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art, First International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Mystetskyi Arsenal, Kiev, Ukraine (2012)[1]
  • A House of Leaves, David Roberts Art Foundation, London, England (2012)[1]
  • Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh PA (2013)[1]
  • 55th International Art Exhibition: The Encyclopedic Palace, La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2013)[1]
  • Yes, Naturally, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands (2013)[1]
  • Peekskill Project V, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill NY (2013)[1]
  • Slow Burn - An Index of Possibilities, Spoorzone, Tilburg, Netherlands (2013)[1]


In 2011, Barlow became a Royal Academician Elect.[3]

In May 2012, Barlow was awarded the Aachen Art Prize for her contribution to the international art scene.[13] The award was accompanied with a solo exhibition of her work at Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba "Phyllida Barlow: biography" Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Cochrane, Kira "Phyllida Barlow: just going to art school doesn't make you famous" The Guardian, Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Full list of Academicians", Royal Academy, Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Phyllida Barlow, RA Elect" Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Darwin's great-grandson dies aged 90" Cambridge News, Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b Godfrey, Mark. "Phyllida Barlow" Frieze Magazine, Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  7. ^ Lack, Jessica. "Artist of the Week: Phyllida Barlow" The Guardian, Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  8. ^ Spence, Rachel. "Phyllida Barlow, Tate Britain" The Financial Times, Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Phyllida Barlow: Bio" Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Tate Britain Commission 2014: Phyllida Barlow", Tate Britain, Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Sculptress Phyllida Barlow to Exhibit Work at U.T. Dallas", University of Texas at Dallas, Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  12. ^ "DISPLAYS: Phyllida Barlow", Contemporary Art Society, Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Aachen Art Prize for 2012 awarded to Phyllida Barlow" e-flux, Retrieved 31 March 2014.

External links[edit]