Author(s): ALASTAIR SOOKE
The British sculptor Phyllida Barlow CBE RA (b. 1944) studied at Chelsea College of Art (1960-63) and the Slade School of Art (1963-66), where she later taught for much of her career. In recent years, she has been elected a Royal Academician, created new work for Tate and the Royal Academy, had numerous solo shows and represented Britain at the Venice Biennale.
Barlow's large-scale sculptures eschew serenity, balance and beauty in favour of instability, obstruction and oddness. They invade the spaces they inhabit, instead of neatly complementing them. Her use of inexpensive, everyday materials - concrete, plywood, cardboard, plaster, fabric and paint - suggests that her works are a double act of recycling: both of the materials she uses and the images she draws from her memory.
With installation shots of the artist's new works at the Royal Academy and photography from the studio, this book situates Barlow as a key figure within contemporary sculpture.
Published to accompany an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 16 February-23 June 2019.
Alastair Sooke is an art critic and broadcaster. Edith Devaney is Head of Summer Exhibition and Curator of Contemporary Projects at the Royal Academy.