Nearly five decades after emerging as a Pop Artist, Clive Barker continues to make sculptures characterised by themes and techniques drawn from popular mass culture. In contrast to the abstract sculptor’s means of arranging shapes in a process of trial and error in order to create the final form, Barker’s creative process relies purely on intuition, association and memory. Barker’s past is still central to his present work, as 1960s London and New York are brought in to echo his present day mood.
Barker’s 1960’s works celebrated the instant possibilities and freedoms of a transformed society, embodied in chrome-plated bronze casts of the everyday, the banal or kitsch elements of our culture, often through the use of irony. Barker's choice of materials and their finishes was largely determined by his experience of working with leather and chrome at the Vauxhall Car factory during 1960-61. Whereas the leather directly inspired a group of works during a relatively short period 1963-65, the influence of chrome was a lasting one, leading Barker not only to apply chrome finishes but also to work primarily in polished cast metals for the rest of his life.
Barker’s 1960s and 1970s objects reveal his love of America, where many of his cherished memories were shaped. Repeated viewings of Hollywood Westerns and gangster movies during his childhood years had left a lasting imprint and a longing to visit this seemingly happy world of debonair characters sauntering through the large open apartments of the East Coast. When Barker started showing at the Robert Fraser Gallery in 1965, the possibility of visiting America became a reality. Robert Fraser was a frequent visitor to New York and Los Angeles, and during 1966-1969 showed the works of many American artists including Larry Bell, Dennis Hopper, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, Jim Dine and Claes Oldenburg. Fraser’s clientele comprised American film stars and wealthy entrepreneurs.
Barker first visited New York during April-May of 1966 and the American dynamic of youth and freedom, and the relaxed, entrepreneurial attitude to life hit an immediate chord within Barker, who welcomed a change from the restrictions of Post War Britain. Barker stayed with Jenny and Gerald Laing, who introduced him to Tom Wesselman who in turn introduced him to Roy Lichtenstein and the New York art crowd. As such Barker attended Warhol’s ‘Silver Clouds’ exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery (2-27 April 1966) and hung out at the Bianchini gallery where he saw works by Jasper Johns and perspex objects by Robert Watts. Barker had already started casting found objects since 1964 and had come to maturity before his first visit to New York with works such as Van Gogh’s Chair, Morandi Still Life, Table with Drawing Board and Art Box I. Barker’s first-hand experience of New York and its Pop scene had been an exciting revelation and confirmed his chosen direction.
During recent years Barker has returned to the highly shiny finishes of his iconic 1960s works and revived that manufactured, shiny and new gift-wrapped feeling which he first marvelled at in New York. As Barker’s technique still imbues his work with the instantaneous feeling of indulgence, his current iconography contemplates and investigates the outcome of mass-consumerism proclaimed as the way forward during the heyday of Pop. In addition Barker has introduced a radical new subject matter, placing the artist at the crossroads of West and East, the past and the present, the fame and energy of his youth and the introspective manner of his older self.
Public collections include
British Museum, London
Imperial War Museum, London
Museu Colecção Berardo, Lisbon
Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
National Portrait Gallery, London
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
Staedtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim
Tate Modern, London
The Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
An Jo FERMON and Marco LIVINGSTONE. Clive Barker. Sculpture. Catalogue raisonné 1958-2000. Milan, 2002.
Clive Barker Pop Art Sculpture 1961 - 1982: An Individual Story, exhibition catalogue, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, 2017.
An Jo FERMON. Clive Barker: Crossroads, exhibition catalogue, Whitford Fine Art, London, 2015.
Marco LIVINGSTONE. Clive Barker: Objects for Contemplation, exhibition catalogue, Whitford Fine Art, London, 2013.
An Jo FERMON. Clive Barker: Pop Now!, exhibition catalogue, Whitford Fine Art, London, 2009.
An Jo FERMON. Clive Barker: Recent Works, exhibition catalogue, Whitford Fine Art, London, 2006.
An Jo FERMON. Clive Barker: Recent Work, exhibition catalogue, Whitford Fine Art, London, 2000.
2021, Clive Barker: Sand Casts, Whitford Fine Art, London.
2017, Clive Barker Pop Art Sculpture 1961 - 1982: An Individual Story, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton.
2015, Clive Barker: Crossroads, Whitford Fine Art, London.
2013, Clive Barker: Objects for Contemplation, Whitford Fine Art, London.
2009, Clive Barker: Pop Now!, Whitford Fine Art, London.
2006, Clive Barker: Recent Works, Whitford Fine Art, London.
2004 - 05, Clive Barker. Pop Sculptures (1963 - 2004), Arte e Arte Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Bologna.
2000, Clive Barker: Recent Works, Whitford Fine Art, London.
1994, Clive Barker: Works on Paper, Independent Gallery, London.
1987 - 88, Clive Barker: Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, touring exhibition.
1985, Clive Barker: Boxes, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton.
1983, Clive Barker: War Heads, Imperial War Museum, London.
1981 - 82, Clive Barker: Sculpture, Drawings and Prints, Retrospective Exhibition, Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, touring exhibition; Stoke, Eastbourne and Cheltenham.
1978, Clive Barker: 12 Studies of Francis Bacon. Francis Bacon: 3 Studies of Clive Barker, Felicity Samuel Gallery with Robert Fraser, London.
1974, Clive Barker: Heads and Chariots, Anthony d’ Offay, London.
1969, Clive Barker, Hanover Gallery, London.
1968, Clive Barker: Recent Works, Robert Fraser Gallery, London.
2016, POP ART HEROES: Pop, Pin-Ups & Politics, Whitford Fine Art, London.
2015, A Strong Sweet Smell of Incense: a Portrait of Robert Fraser, Pace London, London; International Pop, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Dallas Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
2013, Pop Art Design, Barbican Art Gallery, London; New Situation: Art in London in the Sixties, Sotheby's, London; When Britain went Pop! British Pop Art: The Early Years, Christie's, London; Pop Imagery, Waddington Custot Galleries, London.
2011, Snap, Crackle and Pop, The Lightbox Gallery, Woking.
2010, Pop Protest: Art for and Anxious Age, Wolrehampton Art Gallery, Wolrehampton.
2008, Post-War to Pop, Whitford Fine Art, London; Triptyque: Art Contemporain Angers, Angers, France; Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London. Supermarket Pop: Art & Consumerism, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton; Unpopular Culture Grayson Perry selects from the Arts Council Collection, touring exhibition, UK.
2007, Pin Up: Pop Art and Popular Culture, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton.
2005, British Pop, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao; Gladstone Gallery, Bridges Freezes before Road, New York.
2004, Pop Art UK: British Pop Art 1956-1972, the Galleria Civica and the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena;Art & the 60's. This was Tomorrow, Tate Britain, London.; Daddy Pop - The Search for Art Parents, Anne Faggionato Art Gallery, London.
2001, Pop Art: U.S. - U.K. Connections 1956 - 1966, The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas; Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London.
2000, Things: Assemblage, Collage and Photography since 1935, Norwich Gallery, Norwich; D'Après l'Antique, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
1999, A Cabinet of Curiosities from the Collections of Peter Blake, Morley Gallery, London; Portrait Collection of Mr Chow, Galerie Enrico Navarra, Paris.
1998, Twin Images, The Fine Art Society, London; 30th Anniversary of Mr Chow: Portrait Collection, Pace Wildenstein, Beverly Hills and Mayor Gallery, London; Modern British Art, Tate Gallery, Liverpool.
1997, Pop Art, Norwich Castle Museum, Norwich; The Berardo Collection, Sintra Museum of Modern Art, Sintra; Les Sixties: Great Britain and France 1962 - 1973, The Utopian Years, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Brighton; The Pop '60s: Transatlantic Crossing, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon.
1996, Works on Paper, Duncan R. Miller Fine Arts, Glasgow.
1995, Works on Paper, Duncan R. Miller Fine Arts, London; British Surrealism 1935 - 1995, England & Co., London; Post-War to Pop, Whitford Fine Art, London; Treasure from the National Portrait Gallery, Koriyama City Museum of Art, Fukushima, touring exhibition.
1994, Worlds in a Box, City Art Centre, Edinburgh, touring exhibition; Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London.
1993, Declarations of War: Contemporary Art from the Collection of the Imperial War Museum, Kettles Yard, Cambridge; The Sixties Art Scene in London, Barbican Art Gallery, London; The Fab Year Show, Independent Editions, Business Design Centre, London; The 1960's, England & Co., London; Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London; Drawing Towards Sculpture, Isis Gallery and Art Institute, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex; Art in Boxes, England & Co., London; Reflet-Restitution. La Sculpture pop et Hyperréaliste, Abbaye Saint-André, centre d'art contemporain, Meymac; No More Heroes Anymore : Contemporary Art from the Imperial War Museum, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh ; Imitation Goods, Gilmour Gallery, London; The Portrait Now, National Portrait Gallery, London; Art in Boxes, Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham.
1992, Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London; Pop Art, Galerie Michael, Darmstadt; Summer Exhibition, Redfern Gallery, London; Summer Exhibition, The Piccadilly Gallery, London.
1991, Objects for the Ideal Home: The Legacy of Pop Art, Serpentine Gallery, London; Pop Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London, touring exhibition.
1990, Birch and Conran, London.
1988, Summer Selection: Contemporanea, Achim Moeller Fine Art, New York; Contemporay Portraits, Flowers East, London; Modern British Sculpture from the Collection, Tate Gallery, Liverpool.
1987, British Pop Art, Birch and Conran Fine Art, London; 19de Biënnale Monumenta, Openluchtmuseum voor beeldhouwkunst Middelheim, Antwerp; Pop Art U.S.A. - U.K.: American and British Artists of the 60's in the 80's, Odakyu Grand Gallery, Tokyo, touring exhibition.
1986, Forty Years of Modern Art 1945 - 1985, Tate Gallery, London; Faces for the Future. New Twentieth Century Acquisitions at the National Portrait Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, London; The Flower Show. An Exhibition on the Theme of Flowers in Twentieth Century British Art, Stoke-on-Trent City Museum and Art Gallery, Hanley, touring exhibition; Design, Redfern Gallery, London; Contrariwise: Surrealism and Britain 1930 - 1986, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, touring exhibition.
1985, The Irresistible Object: Still Life 1600 - 1985, Leeds City Art Galleries; Visual Aid Print and Original Works, Royal Academy of Arts, London.
1984, Nine Works of Art from the Contemporary Collection of Wolverhampton Art Gallery, The Mayor Gallery, London; British Pop Art, Robert Fraser Gallery, London; Barrier 1977 - 80 and Contemporary Acquisitions, Imperial War Museum, London; Look! People, St. Paul's Gallery, Leeds and National Portrait Gallery, London.
1983, Black White, Robert Fraser Gallery, London; Small is Beautiful. Part 3, Angela Flowers Gallery, London; Art-Hats, Harlekin Art, Wiesbaden, Germany.
1982, Kunst der Klassischen Moderne bis zur Gegenwart, Galerie Kundsthandlung Roche, Bremen; Milestones in Modern British Sculpture, Mappin Art Gallery, London.
1981, 13a Biennale Internazionale del Bronzetto Piccola Scultura, Padua; British Sculpture in the 20th Century, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London.
1980, Nudes, Angela Flower Gallery, London.
1979, Furniture Sculpture, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; .A Cold Wind Brushing the Temple. An Exhibition of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture purchased by George Melly for the Arts Council of Great Britain, Arts Council of Great Britain, touring exhibition.
1978, The Museum of Drawers by Herbert Distel, Kunsthaus, Zürich.
1977, British Artists of the 60's, Tate Gallery, London; Kinsman Morrison Gallery, London.
1976, Schuhwerke, Kunsthalle Nürnberg Nuremberg; Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London; Small is Beautiful. Part 2: Sculpture, Angela Flower Gallery, London.
1975, Desenhos BritContempor, XII Bienal de SPaulo; Der Ausgesparte Mensch, StKunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim.
1974, Zehn Jahre Baukunst, Baukunst-Galerie, Cologne; Small is Beautiful, Angela Flower Gallery, London.
1973, Englishche Zeichner, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, touring exhibition; Kunstler aus England, Baukunst-Galerie, Cologne.
1972, XI Premi Internacional Dibuix Joan Miro, Barcelona; Third British International Print Biennale, Bradford City Art Gallery and Museums, Cartwrith Hall, Bradford; British Figurative Art Today and Tomorrow, Nova-London Fine Art, Copenhagen; Clive Barker/David Oxtoby/Norman Stevens/Michael Vaugham/David Versey/Roy Tunnicliffe/John Loker, Studio 4, London.
1971, Der Geist des Surrealismus, Baukunst-Galerie, Cologne.
1970, Metamorphose de l'Objet. Art et anti-art 1910 - 1970, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, touring exhibition; Kelpra Prints, Arts Council of Great Britain, Hayward Gallery, London; British Sculpture out of the Sixties, ICA, London; Alice, Waddington Galleries, London; New Multiple Art, Whitchapel Art Gallery, London.
1969, Poetic Image, Hanover Gallery, London; Pop Art, Hayward Gallery, London; Young and Fantastic, ICA, London; Play Orbit, Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales, Flint and ICA, London.
1968, Contemporary British Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; British Artists: 6 Painters, 6 Sculptors, an exhibition circulated by the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Mostra Mercato d'Arte Contemporanea, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; Tout Terriblement Guillaume Apollinaire, ICA, London.
1967, Salon de la Jeune Peinture, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; Works from 1956 to 1967 by Clive Barker, Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton, Jann Haworth and Colin Self, Robert Fraser Gallery, London; Ventures, Arts Council of Great Britain, Arts Council Gallery, Cambridge, touring exhibition; Tribute to Robert Fraser, Robert Fraser Gallery, London; Nuove Tecniche d'Immagine, Sesta BIennale Internazionale d'Arte, San Marino; Drawing and Prints, Robert Fraser Gallery, London; Englische Kunst, Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zürich.
1966, New Idioms, Robert Fraser Gallery, London.
1965, New Prints 2, Art Council of Great Britain, touring exhibition.
1964, About Round, Leeds University, Leeds; 118 show, Kasmin Gallery, London.
1962, Young Contemporaries, RBA Galleries, London.