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.Read More
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.