Glenn Barkley

Museum of the Worm Pot, 2016
63.0 x 24.0 x 17.0 cm

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Utopia Art, Sydney
Acquired from the above on 15 April 2016

Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Magic Object, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 27 February - 15 May 2016

“Remaking is a strategy that informs Glenn Barkley’s practice.  His ceramic objects appear to be conjured up from a workshop of lost models, amalgamated and re-presented as artifacts from another time and place.  They are generated by his fascination for the strange and the inexplicable, brought together via a network of interconnections and allusions. Collections have many rationales that evolve from idiosyncratic interpretations and reconfigurations.  As a curator Barkley is well aware of these mechanisms and his creative practice echoes the earlier Curioso assembling their cabinets of wonders to draw conclusions, open up dialogues and refocus our attention. “ (T Snell ‘Habit of Curiosity’ in L Slade, 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, exh. cat, 2016, pp.80-84)

  • Museum of the Worm Pot

Image courtesy of Utopia Art, Sydney

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After a career of two decades as a curator with major Australian institutions, Glenn Barkley turned in around 2014 to a career as a ceramic artist. Working between his studios in Sydney and Berry in regional New South Wales, Barkley's works respond to the transient and immaterial world of the Internet and social media. In the artist statement for his first solo exhibition in 2016, itsallright, Utopia Gallery, Sydney, Barkley wrote:

"I worry about all the people doing kooky dancing, amateur-hour music and post-internet art. Where will their work end up? To paraphrase Robert MacPherson it’s a fine line between the gallery and the rubbish dump...But I am part of this stupidity also. My only saving grace is that once fired pots are pretty fixed and it’s hard to get rid of them. You can destroy the form but it would take a real effort to grind the bits back to powder." (Glenn Barkley, itsallright, Utopia Gallery, Sydney, exh. cat. p. 19.)

From 2008-14, Barkley served first as Curator, then Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Before that, he was Curator, University of Wollongong Art Collection, Wollongong (1996-2008). Since 2014, he has worked as an independent curator and, since 2015, has served as co-founder of The Curators Department, Sydney. In 2015, Barkley also founded Kil-n-it, an experimental, communal ceramics studio in Glebe, Sydney, that hosts a number of permanent residencies.

Barkley’s first solo show was itsallright, Utopia Gallery, Sydney (2016). Since then, major solo exhibitions include: repressivetolerance, Artspace, Sydney (2017); iknowitsjustnouse, Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami, USA (2018); imayimightimust, Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney, Australia (2018);  Doyouremembermylove, Sullivan + Strumpf, Singapore (2019) and Glenn Barkley: Higher beings reveal mystic truths, Niagara Galleries, Wellington, New Zealand (2020). His work is held in major public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Artbank, Sydney, and the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.