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Phyllida Barlow

Phyllida Barlow (b. 1944, Newcastle, UK) trained at Chelsea College of Art  and Slade School of Fine Art. She began teaching at the Slade School of Fine Art in the 1960s. She stayed there for almost half a century, teaching the likes of Turner Prize winners Rachel Whiteread and Martin Creed, but in 2009 she retired from teaching in order to focus on her own work.

Barlow creates large-scale works that are often made from inexpensive material, like cardboard, plywood and polystyrene, crudely painted in industrial or synthetic colours.

Barlow cites among her important influences artists such as Germaine Richier and Barbara Hepworth. However, her sculptures replace their solid volumes and carving with ragged, raw materials to create large-scale structures that often encroach upon the viewer’s space.

‘Maybe I don’t think enough about beauty in my work because I’m so curious about other qualities, abstract qualities of time, weight, balance, rhythm; collapse and fatigue versus the more upright dynamic notions.’

The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture

Phyllida Barlow was nominated for the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture.

For the Prize exhibition, Barlow made new work  and adapted existing sculptures constructed from simple everyday materials, with which her work has become synonymous.

A monumental sculpture titled screestage dominated the gallery space, creating a heightened awareness among the visitor of their surroundings.

Wall-mounted sculptures included the newly made untitled: blackcoils2016 and untitled: toletsigns2016, reconstructed from some existing works, an ongoing practice of the artist.

Both works are constructed from throwaway or domestic items which make reference to structures encountered in urban environments.

While Helen Marten won the judges approval to be crowned winner, Barlow was awarded the people’s choice award voted for by visitors to the exhibition.

Related exhibitions & events

The Hepworth Prize For Sculpture 2016

21 Oct 2016 - 19 Feb 2017

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Further Reading


Shortlisted artists and judges announced for Hepworth Prize For Sculpture

The Hepworth Wakefield announced the four shortlisted artists and judging panel for the UK’s first prize for sculpture.

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