Art Now: Simeon Barclay, The Hero Wears Clay Shoes, Tate Britain, London, UK

Photography © Tate, 2017; Photographer Mark Heathcote


Simeon Barclay draws upon fashion, music, and popular culture to make works that activate complex cultural histories and examine the ways in which we construct and perform identity and self. Combining found and appropriated imagery with text, video, installation and sculpture, Barclay creates reductive, sophisticated works that address aspects of aesthetics, British culture, subjectivity and memory.


Born in 1975 in Huddersfield, UK, Barclay spent 16 years working in the manufacturing industry in the North of England. As a youth he became fascinated with Vogue magazine, a periodical whose glamour and theatricality provided aspirational imagery in stark contrast to his everyday reality working in a factory. This insight would later become the impetus for his involvement in various subcultural movements whose symbolic and alternative modes of expression defined themselves in opposition to social norms.  


These formative experiences, coupled with internal conflicts around belonging and his place as a stakeholder in the shaping of British culture and its identity, have contributed to Barclay’s sharp awareness of the socio-cultural, political and economic contexts that inform our lives. These are articulated sonicallyand visually through a reworked archive of appropriated images, objects and the re-interpretation of the gallery space through theatrical interventions. Barclay’s background in industry directly feeds into his work, addressing narrow constructions of masculinity as well as informing the glossy aesthetic and use of industrial fabrication techniques throughout his work. These seemingly disparate and contradictory influences allow Barclay to examine alternative narratives whilst addressing the complexity of inheritance, aspiration and desire.





MFA Fine Art, Goldsmiths College, University of London

PG Diploma in Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London

B.A. (Hons) Fine Art [1st Class], Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds

Solo Exhibitions

Bus2move, Workplace Foundation, Gateshead, UK
Liferoom, The Holden Gallery, Manchester, UK

Bus2move, The Tetley, Leeds, UK

Art Now: Simeon Barclay, The Hero Wears Clay Shoes, Tate Britain, London, UK

They Don't Like It Up 'Em', Cubitt, London, UK

Where Did It All Go Wrong, Dam Projects, London, UK 
Mans Not Ready, Set The Controls For the Heart Of The Sun, Leeds, UK 

Selected Group Exhibitions

Survey, G39, Cardiff, WAL
Futbolka, Tŷ Pawb, Wrexham, WAL

Survey, Jerwood Space, Jerwood Visual Arts, London, UK
Knock Knock, South London Gallery, London, UK
Common Third, Copperfield Gallery, London, UK 
Its Not There Till it's There,(joint show with Hannah Perry) Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer, Vienna, CH
We Are Where We Are, Baltic 39, Newcastle, UK
Repeats (Figures and Infrastructures), Sixty Eight Art Institute, Copenhagen, DK 

Exit, Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, BE
Houses Are Really Bodies, Cubitt, London, UK
On Longing, Arcadia Missa, New York, NY
Wagstaff's, Mostyn, Llandudno, WAL

Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK
General Studies, Outpost, Norwich, UK
Opensource, Gillet Square, London, UK
Playing By The Rules, Royal Standard, Liverpool, UK

A British Art Show, New York, USA
The Feast Wagon, The Tetley, Leeds, UK 
True Players, W139, Amsterdam, NL 
You think the only people who are people, are the people who look like you. But if you walk in the footsteps of a stranger, you learn things you never knew you never knew, Two Queens, Leicester, UK

MFA Fine Art Degree Show, Goldsmiths College, London, UK

Wu Tang Killa Beez, BlipBlipBlip, Leeds, UK
To-morrow or Today, Soscastoa, Gent, BE
To-morrow or To-day, Mexico Project Space, Leeds, UK
Contemporary Figuration, Gallery Q, Copenhagen, DK
Interim Show, Goldsmiths College, London, UK

Beaten Black, Blue, Red, Green & Gold, Cardiff, UK
Glamourie, Project Space Leeds, Leeds, UK

Final Show Post Graduate Diploma, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK
Lives and Works, Limazulu, London, UK
My Space, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, UK

Plaza Principle, Leeds Plaza, Leeds, UK
One of Those Platonic Solids Existing Somewhere Out In The Ether Of A World Of Ideal Form, Enjoy, Unit 22c, Mabgate, Leeds, UK
Graduate Show, Bloc Project, Sheffield, UK
Watchamacalit, The One Offs Project, Leeds, UK
Leeds Metropolitan Fine Art Degree Show, Leeds, UK
Collection Continued… The Private Gallery of Rachel Carter and Harry Meadley, Mabgate, Leeds, UK

Awards, Residencies and Commissions

Artist in Residence, Girton College, University of Cambridge, UK  

Phoenix Dance Theatre Residency, Leeds, UK  
Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant 
The Bryan Robertson Trust Award

Liverpool Biennial Associate Artists Programme

A Jolly Lament in Four Movements Concerning A Hamlet By The Sea, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, UK
Master Class, Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK

Curatorial Projects

Curator/Program Director The One Offs Project, Leeds, UK

Salver, Group Exhibition, Old Broadcasting House, Leeds, UK
Variable Dimensions, Group Exhibition, Old Broadcasting House, Leeds, UK

Publications / Press

Corridor 8, Liferoom, Jazmine Linklater (review)
Corridor 8, Bus2Move, Laura Clarke (review)
The White Pube, Bus2move, Gabrielle de la Puente (review)
The Yorkshire Post, Bus2move, Yvette Huddleston (review)
A-N, Q&A, Amelia Crouch

A-N, Exhibition picks 2018, Bus2move, Amelia Crouch
ID Magazine The Radical Issue #3512017
Cura, Hot!, Frances Loeffler #2

Evening Standard, The Hero Wears Clay Shoes, Ben Luke
Artworks London, Lauren Velvick
Art Monthly, Tom Emery, #403 (profile)

Artforum Critic's Picks, Philomena Epps
Frieze, Playing By The Rules, Eleanor Clayton, #179 (review)
The Feast Wagon, The Tetley

Art Monthly, Feast Wagon, Tom Emery, # 392 (review)
Corridor 8, Feast Wagon, Lara Eggleton (review)
Corridor 8, Mans Not Ready, Hatty Nestor (Review)
CVANA Jolly Lament in Four Movements Concerning A Hamlet By The Sea, Jack Welsh (review)
Times Education Supplement, Lost and Found: Echoes of Britain's Black Voices, Alan Rice
The Catlin Guide