Workplace & Gathering present Simeon Barclay 'At Home, Everywhere and Nowhere' his new ambitious solo exhibition. - FAD Magazine

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Workplace & Gathering present Simeon Barclay ‘At Home, Everywhere and Nowhere’ his new ambitious solo exhibition.

Workplace and Gathering are collaborating on a new exhibition At Home, Everywhere and Nowhere, an ambitious solo exhibition of large-scale sculpture, installation, and wall-based work by Simeon Barclay.

Each gallery will feature paintings from the same wall-based acrylic series, drawing an explicit continuity between the overlapping exhibitions. Set against a striking black background, cropped and edited film stills from Hedi Slimane’s Celine Autumn/ Winter 23 fashion campaign depict models projecting an effortless nonchalance behind sunglasses, a sight that both absorbed and repelled the artist due to their layer of impenetrability. To further explore this tension, Barclay has intervened into the surface with vinyl and painted canvas, creating colourful abstract blocks akin to the work of Matisse as a gesture towards deconstruction, fandom and appropriation.

At Workplace, a metal railing skirts around the darkened basement, where a series of neon text works held within semi-transparent bins illuminate the space. Visitors, kept at a slight remove by the barrier, can wander through the haunting atmosphere of the environment. A film installation projects handheld footage into the gallery to fill the space with emergency strobe lights, evoking an elusive sense of danger at night, whilst upstairs a fabricated weightlifting rack is adorned with strange and familiar sculptural elements, invoking the notion of strength as a defence mechanism. Here, Barclay’s references to public architecture, institutions of control and tools for individual optimisation gestures towards the privatisation of urban space, where access to public areas is contingent upon private forces and reduces the agency of passers-by, often made indirectly visible due to the presence of sentinels and physical
barriers. The silence of the film along with the ambiguity of the weightlifting rack further underscores this sense of what is stated and unstated, what is seen and unseen.

At Gathering, Barclay is presenting a larger-than-life inflatable sculpture of the artist wearing a Donald Duck outfit, referencing a 1980 Elton John performance in New York City. Evolving from a previous sculpture exhibited at South London Gallery, which featured the same pop cultural citation, the newly created work takes on an overwhelming presence within the gallery, adopting a similar pompous
scale akin to the 1995 Michael Jackson HIStory album statue, witnessed by Barclay floating down the River Thames, a stance that is simultaneously threatening and theatrical. Continuing to play with tensions between tautness and tenderness, additional works within the multifaceted installation interact with the architecture of the gallery’s lower floor. The first of three sculptural installations, a series of javelins pierce the space, an object that is both graceful and contains a potential for violence. Taken by the artist and activist Ajamu X, a lightbox which depicts a nude portrait of the artist, holding a restful and unguarded pose harking back to classical statues, while a watchful cardboard cut-out of a police officer attached to a robot vacuum projects a pathetic sense of surveillance and failed deterrence.

Across both exhibitions, made possible through a distinctly collegial partnership between the two galleries, Barclay draws upon a rich vein of pop cultural sources, producing works that manifest through a complex interplay of the sonic, collage, an archival approach to the appropriated image, sculpture, video, objects and the re-interpretation of the gallery space through installation. Deeply evocative and steeped in the politics of public space, within these dual exhibitions, the artist brings visitors on a journey across the construction of masculinity and experiences of living in a contemporary city. Collectively, the artworks further Barclay’s idiosyncratic engagement with art history and fashion, identity and histories of image-making.

Simeon Barclay, At Home, Everywhere and Nowhere, 6th October – 11th November 2023
Opening reception: Thursday 5th October, 6 – 9 pm
Workplace | 50 Mortimer Street, W1W 7RP
Gathering | 5 Warwick Street, W1B 5LU

About the artist

Simeon Barclay (b.1975, Huddersfield) lives and works in West Yorkshire, UK. Barclay draws on a diverse visual language, activating object in installations that with humorous undertones come to express the paradoxes and ambiguities of situating and defining ourselves within culture and tradition.

In 2022 Barclay received the Ares Art Award; in 2021 he was appointed to the Arts Council Collection Acquisitions Committee, and received an Art Fund Commission as part of BAS9. Barclay was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Visual Artists and a Henry Moore Foundation award in 2020. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally with major exhibitions including: In the Name of the
Father, South London Gallery, London, UK (2022); Whose Voice? Hard to Reach!, Touchstones, Rochdale, UK (2022); England’s Lost Camelot, Workplace Gallery, London, UK (2021); Bus2move, The Turnpike, Leigh, UK (2020); Liferoom, Holden Gallery, Manchester, UK (2019); Bus2move, The Tetley, Leeds, UK (2018); and ART NOW: SIMEON BARCLAY ‘The Hero Wears Clay Shoes’, TATE Britain, London, UK (2017). He has participated in group exhibitions at Victoria Miro, London (2022), Somerset House, London (2021), British Art Show 9, Aberdeen, Manchester and Wolverhampton (2021), Southbank Centre, London (2020), Galerie Kandlhofer, Vienna, (2018), Rodolpe Janssen, Brussels (2017), Arcadia Missa, New York (2017) and W139, Amsterdam (2015).

Barclay received his BA from Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds in 2010 and his MFA from Goldsmiths College, London in 2014. He is currently working on a commission for Deutsche Bank and will be taking part in this years Chester Biennale. Simeon Barclay is represented by Workplace, London.



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