Curator Deborah Dean, Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, discusses the work of Phyllida Barlow Thursday 26 March, 19.00
Phyllida Barlow is a central figure in the development of contemporary British sculpture. Her deliberately playful and non-monumental works Untitled: Basel structure (2010), Untitled: crushed shape (2011) and Untitled: disaster 3 (2010) were recently gifted by the Contemporary Art Society to Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery with additional support from the Art Fund.
Phyllida Barlow’s practice reflects a distinct new direction in contemporary sculpture, one concerned with urban detritus, waste, recycling and a kind of ‘anti-form’. She uses cheap, industrial materials such as cement, sealant, bonding plaster and spray-paint to create fragile sculptures that rest precariously in their surroundings. Their sense of impermanence is in stark contrast to those sculptures and monuments in bronze or stone that plant themselves firmly in our parks and public spaces. Her sculpture displayed here, Unititled: disaster 3, is a work on casters and comes from a series of small pieces made from the remnants of larger works. The two drawings acquired alongside Untitled: disaster 3 for Nottingham’s collection, Untitled: basel structure (2010) and Untitled: crushed shape (2011), are typical of her works on paper, revealing the integral role drawing plays in her practice. Untitled: crushed shape is one of a number of drawings that explores process and the behaviour of materials, and in Untitled: basel structure, Barlow gathers inspiration from the structures and materials of the urban built environment.