Who

Phil Barrington (Born April 1976 in East Anglia, UK) is an English mixed media artist who currently resides in Norfolk, Eastern England. His work (at times symbolic or surreal) often deals with such themes as social fear, moral degradation, urban paranoia, class & gender inequality, industrialism, loneliness and the archetypal ‘Outsider’.

Barrington’s stark yet, at times, complex mixed media output (most notably through his use of creative photography mixed with paints and chemicals) often recall both early street photography and the origins of the Theatre of the Absurd in the avant-garde art experiments of the 1920s-30s, detailing a somewhat abstractly political, certainly a socially troubled, raven-black canvas.

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Methods

I try to create images from different photographic and printing processes; including combining shots of actual negatives, slides and transparencies utilising transparent layers containing dirt, chemicals, paint, blood and other liquids on top of, or behind, each transparent image on physical lightboxes.

Digital grunge brushes and Photoshop layering are not currently used.

What themes am I exploring in my current series of work?

Oppression/Old English occultism/love lost/contemporary politics

More specific?

Victimisation/mastectomy/sexuality/restraint/threat/suffocation/mythology/despair

I am now stumbling around bumping into stuff on Twitter, so hook up with me in the twitterverse for more on-the-fly questions you may have.

Arts Approach

Social fear brought to an absurdist level? Modern political angst or millennial mortality issues set in a strange antiquarian world?

The characters in my mixed-media photography display emotional or sensual responses to events that are often unknown or unclear to the audience. In a gallery setting, my works attempt to do what almost any gallery show tries to do – to emotionally connect to the private lives of its audience as individuals.

For those who like to think about art movements and allocation of genre to creatives, I follow my own neo-sensualist manifesto (stream-of-consciousness pdf link here), and have adhered to that approach of dissolving minimalism and cynical coldness since 2011 (after my industrial “Cracktown v1.0” series of works explored a colder-is-more aesthetic back in 2007-2009).

In current Art Movement terms, if I had a gun pressed at my back I’d be forced to say that my work slots into metamodernism (philosophy) and remodernism (aesthetic content), a movement that claims to reflect a “period of new spirituality in art, culture and society to replace postmodernism, which was cynical and spiritually bankrupt”, apparently. In current pop culture terms, I can see elements of hauntology in quite a few of my pictures, though this is probably incidental.

If the above sounds pretentious and dry to you because it talks about hoary old ‘isms’ and theory, then you’re probably right.

Just remember;  Focus on the sensation – not the thinking.

Phil Barrington
March 2016.

Selected Solo and Group Exhibitions

2008 – Eastern O8pen group exhibition, Spring, King’s Lynn Arts Centre.
2009 – Cracktown v1.0 solo exhibition, February 9-21, King’s Lynn Greyfriars Art Space.
2009 – Cracktown v1.0 solo exhibition, April 15-May 5, Cambridge Galleries.
2009 – Cracktown v1.0 solo exhibition, September 1-30, Norwich Playhouse.
2011 – Prix de la Photographie Paris group exhibition, June 22-29, Espace Dupon Paris.
2011 – Art in Mind group exhibition, July 20-31, London Brick Lane Gallery [trailer here].
2012 – Eastern Open group exhibition, March 31-May 19, King’s Lynn Arts Centre.
2012 – Art Takes Manhattan group exhibition, June, New York Times Square.
2014 – FEMALES Volume I solo exhibition, Hamburg Gallery, Hanse House, East Anglia.
2015 – FEMALES Volume II solo exhibition, Hamburg Gallery, Hanse House, East Anglia.
2016 – London Occult Conference group exhibition, June 18, Islington Metalworks, London [details here].

[Selected Other Appearances]

2008 – A BBC radio Cracktown v1.0 Special [January 2008, available here].
2011 – Facing Hard Times – international group exhibition, as Co-Curator, October, King’s Lynn’s Greyfriars Art Space.
2012 – Peter Hook Live Concert Photography for Hacienda Records, December, Norwich Waterfront [series in Portfolio].
2013 – Maria Papadatou Exhibition, as Co-Curator, February 22-March 9, King’s Lynn’s Greyfriars Art Space [trailer here].
2013 – Art Photography Now, as Tutor, July-August, NCC-funded tutorial series for young creatives, East Anglia.
2013 – APN group exhibition, as Curator, September, King’s Lynn’s Greyfriars Art Space.
2014 – Art Photography Tutorials, as Tutor, February, NCC-funded programme for young creatives, Norwich.
2015 – Appearance in ‘Bust’ comic issue #1, August (pages seen here).

[Archived Reviews, Interviews and More]

Venue Magazine’s ‘Urban Fractures’ article on Phil Barrington & his work; (Jan 2009, here).
Barrington Art Philosophy; The Neo-Sensualist Manifesto (pdf here).
Phil Barrington Archived Biography Sheet (2013, here).
Barrington Interview; For Mangle Prints (June 2011, here).
Archived Press Release; (January 2009, MS Word file here).
Original Artist’s Statement; (November 2008, MS Word file here).
Barrington Interview; (November 2007, here).