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.
TRANSMISSION17 Jul - 5 Sep 2020 OnlineWorkplace is pleased to present Transmission, a group exhibition of new and recent work by gallery artists Simeon Barclay, Marcus Coates, Jennifer Douglas, Louise Giovanelli and Laura Lancaster.
This exhibition is presented online inside a detailed virtual rendering of our first gallery space: Workplace, 34 Ellison Street, Gateshead, which opened in 2005 within the British Brutalist masterpiece Trinity Court designed by Rodney Gordon for Owen Luder Partnerships, and which was demolished in 2009. For this exhibition we have relocated the gallery to the coast - in both a nod to the sublime (an echo of Gordon’s vast, elemental architecture) and because the original street outside the gallery was destroyed.
Simeon Barclay: Bus2moveThe Turnpike, Leigh 14 Feb - 18 Apr 2020In his first institutional solo exhibition in the North West, Simeon Barclay presents a new body of work informed by research into dance. From the visual spectacle of contemporary dance theatre to the communal experience of the nigh club dance floor, the exhibition Bus2move combines costume, film and video, photography, lighting and sound.
Simeon Barclay: 'Bus2move'Workplace Foundation, Gateshead, UK 20 Sep - 2 Nov 2019 GatesheadIn his first institutional solo exhibition in the North East of England, Simeon Barclay presents a new body of work informed by research into dance. From the visual spectacle of contemporary dance theatre to the communal experience of the night club dance floor, the exhibition Bus2move combines costume, film and video, photography, lighting and sound. Barclay's interest in dance and its many facets centres on the construction of masculinity, with particular focus on the way popular perceptions and stereotypes become defined, contested and encoded upon the male body.
Simeon Barclay: 'Life Room'The Holden Gallery, Manchester, UK 8 Feb - 29 Mar 2019 Museums & InstitutionsThe Holden Gallery is delighted to present Simeon Barclay’s first solo exhibition in Manchester. Barclay – whose work operates at the intersection of contemporary art, fashion, music and popular culture – will present a survey of existing work alongside new work which will include a response to the historic collections at Manchester School of Art.
ART NOW: SIMEON BARCLAY - 'The Hero Wears Clay Shoes'TATE Britain, London, UK 7 Jul - 5 Nov 2017 Museums & InstitutionsBarclay uses references from popular culture from his time growing up in the north of England to explore masculine and feminine roles and the expectations of society. Images of footballers, actresses and objects such as a car illustrate how we perform gender. Barclay blurs fiction and reality by adapting a scene from the television drama Boys from the Blackstuff, which refers to class, masculinity and unemployment in 1980s Britain, and collaged images of characters from Viz comic’s The Fat Slags and gymnast Haruhiro Yamashita.
Simeon Barclay: 'They Don't Like It Up Em'Cubitt, London 13 Oct - 13 Nov 2016 Museums & InstitutionsFor his first solo exhibition in London, Leeds-based multidisciplinary artist Simeon Barclay presents They Don’t Like It Up ‘Em. Drawing on a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, video and printmaking, these materials will be semiotically charged with a range of diverse and symbolically rich references Barclay has culled...
Simeon Barclay: Poetic DissonanceGirton College, Cambridge, UK Oct 28, 2019Poetic Dissonance is an exhibition by Simeon Barclay, which represents the culmination of his tenure as Artist in Residence 2018/2019 at Girton College, University of Cambridge.
b.1975, Huddersfield, UK
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
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
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)
CVAN, A 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
Cura Magazine: Simeon BarclayFrances Loeffler, Cura Magazine
Artforum: Critic's Picks - Simeon Barclay, Cubitt, LondonPhilomena Epps, Artforum
'Bus2move' The Turnpike, LeighIsabel Taube, Corridor 8, March 31, 2020
Simeon Barclay: Life RoomJazmine Linklater, Corridor 8 , March 17, 2019
Simeon Barclay: 'Bus2move' - The Tetley, LeedsLaura Clarke, Corridor 8, November 12, 2018
'Playing By The Rules', The Royal Standard, LiverpoolEleanor Clayton, Frieze Magazine, May 1, 2016
Art Monthly: The Feast Wagon, The Tetley, LeedsTom Emery, Art Monthly, January 31, 2016
Simeon Barclay's work features in Winter Light at The Southbank CentreNovember 24, 2020This exhibition brings together artworks that take inspiration from light, colour and the poetics of space and will feature more than 15 artworks and new...
Laura Lancaster and Simeon Barclay included in Paint the Town in Sound in association with Field Music at Sunderland Museum.November 24, 2020The exhibition examines the direct links forged between musicians and artists taking Sunderland based band Field Music’s own collaborations as a starting point to explore...
In Conversation: Simeon Barclay and Adam CarrWorkplace Foundation November 7, 2019Artist, Simeon Barclay and curator Adam Carr discuss the exhibition 'Simeon Barclay: Bus2Move' at Workplace Foundation, and the wider themes of Simeon Barclay's work. Recorded on 7 Nov 2019.
Simeon Barclay: 'Life can be like a theatre'TATESHOTS October 31, 2017From Vogue-devotee to production engineer to artist, Simeon Barclay focuses on how we shape and define our identity within cultural settings. We follow his journey of self-reinvention to discover the inspiration behind his work. Simeon Barclay: The Hero Wears Clay Shoes. Art Now is a series of exhibitions at Tate Britain focusing on new work by emerging artists. Since the 1990s, Art Now has recognized talent at its outset and provides a platform for artists who have gone on to become established figures in the British and international art scene.