Claire Barclay

Claire Barclay Openwide, courtesy of The Fruitmarket Gallery, Photo: Ruth Clark

The Fruitmarket Gallery‘s current solo exhibition, Openwide, appropriately features Scottish artist Claire Barclay in retrospective for the first time. Barclay, who represented Scotland in the 2003 Venice Biennale, typically works in large-scale sculptural installations inspired by site. Openwide presents surviving sculptural elements from past installations in new arrangements on plinths and display spaces of Barclay’s design. Innovative placement imbues the objects with a singular importance not found in their original context and highlights the presence of recurrent motifs and themes in Barclay’s work. The artist’s sculptural objects of leather, metal, wood and cloth, among others, share an intriguing juxtaposition of the organic and industrial, of ambiguity and tactility, and of stasis and flux. Such themes are equally evident in Barclay’s screen prints of simple, fluid shapes in either a monochromatic or a dichromatic palette (A LIfe Livelier, a series of 10 screen prints was commissioned by the Fruitmarket Gallery).

Openwide also features two large-scale sculptural installations commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery. The meticulously spontaneous environments created by Barclay’s Caught in Corners and Subject to Habit encourage exploration of the varied sculptural pieces. The consistently machined and industrial character of Subject to Habit is the largest departure.

Claire Barclay was born in Paisley, Scotland in 1968. She received her BA in Fine Art from the Department of Environmental Art at the Glasgow School of Art in 1990 and her MFA also from the Glasgow School of Art in 1993. She has exhibited internationally since the 1990s, with solo shows at Doggerfisher in Edinburgh in 2002 and 2005, the Stephen Friedman Gallery in London in 2005, the Tate Britain in 2004, and more recently at the Camden Arts Center in London in 2008. The artist lives and works in Glasgow.

Openwide is on view through 12 April 2009.