Francis Upritchard Exhibition on at the Barbican
This autumn, to mark the 30th Curve commission at London’s Barbican Centre, New Plymouth-born and London-based artist Francis Upritchard, 42, has created a new, site-specific installation.
Drawing from figurative sculpture, craft traditions and design, blended with references from literature and history, Upritchard pushes these practices into new directions, bringing them together to create a striking and original visual language of her own.
Playing with scale, colour and texture, Upritchard has populated the gallery space with a spectrum of different materials, vibrant figures and eclectic objects. She begins with brightly coloured polymer clay sculptures in various poses, bedecked in hand-made garments supported by plinths, leading to a series of bespoke metal and glass shelves suspended from the ceiling, displaying smaller-scale felt hats.
As the exhibition unfolds the colour slowly weakens from the sculptures concluding with large figures made from balata, a wild rubber harvested in Brazil. These are inspired by the Parthenon Reliefs; creatures from science fiction novels; and the Japanese folklore characters of Ashinaga-Tenaga (Long Legs and Long Arms), who extol the virtues of harmonious working relationships, coalescing into a melting pot of traditions where no dominant culture persists.
“I’m envisaging an exhibition which works with the brutalist Barbican architecture with stone, wood, glass and metal – brutal but rational with my delicate, strange and sometimes colourful works atop,” Upritchard explains. “I’ve been thinking about The Curve as offering a kind of rainbow-light spectrum that plays with distortion and scale.”
Francis Upritchard’s Wetwang Slack is on at the Barbican until 6 January 2019.
Original article by Laura Connelly, Creative Boom, September 26, 2018.