Barnaby Barford’s “ME WANT NOW,” staged at David Gill Gallery in London, features a line-up of life-size, ceramic animal sculptures, but its implications are decidedly human. As they await the unknown, the gallery says the pieces represent a “a visual allegory of human existence.” The exhibit comes a year after his 20-foot-high “Tour of Babel” installation, comprised of 3,000 miniature buildings, inhabiting the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Barford was first featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 8 and is part of the “Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose” at Virginia MOCA. “ME WANT NOW” runs through Dec. 21.
Among them is an 8-foot polar bear, constructed of porcelain, wood, MDF, epoxy putty, enamelled copper wire, plastic, and foam. Trophy heads, in a nearby room, hint at the fate of the animals. The show is also to feature the artist’s works on paper. The broader theme of the body of work is the “me first” mentality of contemporary culture. Reflecting on words like “more,” “power,” “change,” “choice,” “hope,” “glory,” and “greatness” may seem positive on an individual basis, but as a whole, can be dangerous.
“Individually the words I have chosen are positive as are the pieces in isolation, it is in their relationship to each other and ultimately the installation as a whole that drives the narrative of the exhibition. Fear promotes the ‘me first’ culture, the disregard of consequences and the collateral damage that ensues seems to be eroding our sense of collective humanity.”