Barnaby Barford¬


Barnaby Barford, Happy Meal, 2009. Porcelain, earthenware, enamel paint, painted wooden base, other media. Courtesy David Gill Galleries LTD. Photograph by Noah Da Costa.

September 12, 2013-December 29, 2013

Barnaby Barford examines the human condition through ceramic sculpture. Barford is known for his work with antique or mass-produced porcelain figures, which he recombines and reassembles into narrative sculpture with often dark comic titles and sardonic implications. Lively and thought-provoking, his sculptural narratives draw the viewer into his stories and, doing so, present portraits of our contemporary lives.

Through humor the sculpture takes the viewer off guard, evokes relevant problems and concerns of our times, and allows the messages to permeate. By fusing reality with recognizable elements from fairytales and fantasy, Barford invites the viewer into an unusual and yet not completely foreign world.

Since Marcel Duchamp coined the term readymade in 1917, the found object has become more commonplace in art history, but not so in the realm of ceramics. Barford utilizes the ready-made figurine as the medium of choice in his work to tell unexpected stories and challenge the viewers’ preconceptions about porcelain, and the assumed-to-be naive, decorative ceramic figurine. Barford’s precise craftsmanship provides a seamless transformation as it offers a juxtaposition of past and present within the sculpture.

This exhibition is organized by Virginia MOCA and curated by Alison Byrne, Director of Exhibitions and Education at Virginia MOCA, and Andrée Cooke, Independent Curator based in London. A full-color catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition and will provide a wonderful opportunity to highlight the artist’s career and introduce him to new audiences in the United States.