Phyllida Barlow was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art and was Professor of Fine Art at the Slade. Her work incorporates an enormous range of mass produced materials including cardboard, fabric, paper, glue, paint, plastic, wood, rubber, hardboard, and adhesive tape. Barlow's work questions the nature and role of the sculptural object in contemporary culture, utilising an extensive, fluid vocabulary and immense enthusiasm for engaging with the physical 'stuff' of the world. She creates new relationships, experimenting with unexpected combinations of materials creating objects and environments, which encourage us to see the everyday world with fresh eyes.
She has undertaken a number of residencies including the McDermott Visiting Artist at the University of Texas, Dallas, 2003. Recent solo and group shows include, Peninsula, a nine sculpture installation commissioned for BALTIC, Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, 2004-2005 and SKIT, a seven sculpture installation commissioned for Bloomberg Space, 2005; SCAPE, a ten sculpture installation commissioned for Spacex, Exeter, 2005; British Art Show 5, 2000-2001, Beacon Project, 'a site of place, a place of site', (a commissioned seven sculpture installation work titled 'after'), The Maltings , Sleaford, Lincoln, 2005 and Works on Paper, Leeds City Art Gallery, new acquisitions by the Henry Moore Foundation, Leeds, 2005-2006. Barlow has recently exhibited at Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland, Bergen Kunsthall, Norway and with Nairy Baghramian at The Serpentine.
In addition to her regular teaching commitments at the Slade she has lectured extensively, for example Hearsay, Rumours, Bed-sit Dreamers and Art Begins Today, The Whitechapel Art Gallery and Tate Modern, 2002-2003; Lost for Words, Eva Hesse Symposium, Tate Modern, 2003.