Phyllida Barlow was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and studied fine art at Chelsea College of Art and Design (1960-63) and the Slade School of Fine Art (1963-66). She is known for her large imposing sculptures made from what she calls ‘crap’ materials, such as; plywood, plaster, cement, polystyrene, spray-paint, PVA, scrim, cardboard, felt and rubber. Barlow’s influential teaching career spanned a forty year period which saw her work at art schools in Bristol, Brighton, Chelsea, Camberwell and Slade. Her students included the contemporary artists Rachel Whiteread, Tacita Dean, Douglas Gordon and Martin Creed. Barlow lives and works in London.
ARTIST ROOMS includes one work by Barlow, untitled: upturnedhouse, 2 2012, a large-scale sculpture made of wood, steel, polyurethane foam and cement with a surface comprising multiple multi-coloured panels. As its title indicates, the structure resembles an upturned house, which takes on a slightly unbalanced, restless presence at the centre of the gallery, blocking and interrupting the viewer's progress through the space. As she has stated, since the late 1990s Barlow has been interested in ‘the space between the objects and what that did to an audience, how the audience moved around the works and discovered each one of them’ (quoted in Coles and Fabrizi 2004, p.47).
Pippa Coles and Elisabetta Fabrizi (eds.), Phyllida Barlow: Peninsula: A New Baltic Commission, exhibition catalogue, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead 2004.