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“Stick that on YouTube!” from the Private Lives; series, bone china, porcelain, earthware, enamel paint, other media, H 27 cm x diameter 29 cm, 2007. Image credit: Theo Cook. © Barnaby Barford

Barnaby Barford: “Stick that on YouTube!” from the Private Lives series, bone china, porcelain, earthware, enamel paint, other media, H 27 cm x diameter 29 cm, 2007. Image credit: Theo Cook. © Barnaby Barford.

I wrote about Barnaby Barford’s art before (Barnaby Barford: “The Good The Bad The Belle”, 2009). He is currently having his first solo exhibition in United States at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (Virginia Beach, VA). The exhibition has been running since September 12 and will continue up until December 29, 2013.

“Mary had a little lamb” by Barnaby Barford, from the ‘Private Lives’ series, bone china, porcelain, metal, enamel paint, H 27 cm x diameter 29 cm, 2007. © Barnaby Barford.
“Mary had a little lamb” by Barnaby Barford, from the ‘Private Lives’ series, bone china, porcelain, metal, enamel paint, H 27 cm x diameter 29 cm, 2007. © Barnaby Barford.

Here’s how Alison Byrne, director of exhibitions and education at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), describe Barford’s art:

Part artist, storyteller and casting director, Barnaby Barford works with antique and mass-produced figurines. He dissects, combines, reassembles, and paints them to create narrative sculpture with darkly comic titles and a touch of English humor.

By incorporating kitsch figurines that we might expect to find on our grandmothers’ shelves into contemporary and sometimes scandalous scenarios, the artist takes us off-guard. At first glance these pieces might look harmless, but when you get up close and notice that a cherub-like boy figurine has been altered into a mischievous weapon-wielding character wearing a hoodie, jeans and Nike sneakers, you can’t help but laugh. It’s been wonderful hearing our visitors chuckling out loud when they see these tongue-in-cheek sculptures. (British Council: “How a young UK artist came to exhibit in Virginia” by Alyson Byrne, October 11, 2013).

The exhibition features 28 sculptures from 14 collections dispersed around the world. It also has Barnaby’s first animated film, Damaged Goods (2008, Vimeo):

The film marks Artist Barnaby Barford’s first venture into animated film, creating a new world for his porcelain characters. “I’ve always seen my pieces as scenes from a film – I want viewers to make up what happened before and what might happen afterwards – so it felt like a natural progression to work on a film,” Barford explains. (Barnaby Barford: “Damaged Good Film”)

One can also watch the 5-min profile “Porcelain Artist Barnaby Barford” produced by Deutsche Welle back in April 2013 for its Euromaxx series:

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