Claire Barclay
6 July – 8 September 2024

Open Thurs-Sun, 11am-4pm
Or by appointment outside of those times
Entry is free – all are welcome
The exhibition is wheelchair accessible

Join us for the opening of our summer exhibitions
Saturday 6 July, 1.30–4.30pm

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This summer, we are delighted to present RAWLESS, a new installation made for and in response to our upstairs space by Glasgow-based Claire Barclay (b. 1968, Paisley), opening 6 July 2024.  

Through its engagement with the raw materials, land practices and machinery traditionally associated with wool production, and the domestic uses of woollen textile, RAWLESS builds upon Claire’s exhibition Thrum at MAC Belfast in 2022, which featured a series of large-scale tactile environments that were informed by historical connections between linen production and textile practices in the West of Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Bringing together materials including wool fabrics, wool crewel yarn, combed wool fleece, sheepskin, lanolin, welded, forged and laser cut steel, rust, machined brass and gorse, RAWLESS will comprise a series of interrelated sculptural elements that are mindful of Cample Mill’s history as a site of local woollen yarn and textile manufacture and as a place of both labour and dwelling.  

Sheep fleece and wool processing, expressive craft disciplines, features of the local topography, handcrafts and manufacture, tools, clothing, the romanticizing and commercialisation of heritage, and the exploitation or revering of domesticated animals have all influenced Claire’s development of RAWLESS, as have the domestic proportions of our building, and the sheep grazing that continues to surround Cample itself. 

Claire has suggested: ‘I have been looking for intersections between agricultural, industrial and domestic contexts, the slippages between workplace and home and the confluences of labour and dwelling that are commonplace. And more specifically, how this is evident in objects that we make and use.’ 

Welded steel hoops with fuzzy sheepskin sleeves will suspend from the exposed roof trusses of our upstairs space. Embroidered wool fabric elements, and forged steel hooks and pointed rods, made by Claire at a local forge, will suggest functions yet evade any specific reading. Some will contrast with precisely machined brass objects with comb teeth that are filled with lanolin.  

Thick, hand-stitched woollen cloth covers will be wrapped around or lain over branches of dried gorse. Larger cut steel shapes, some rusted and bright with the colours of iron oxides, might suggest redundant farming or factory equipment. There will be nods to sheep-shearing equipment and to Sanquhar knitting patterns.

Of the materials she most often works with – clay, cloth, wood, wool, metal and so on – Claire has noted: ‘They’ve been used to make the objects that shape our lives for a very long time…they transcend time and place and even culture.’ In RAWLESS, materials, objects and forms will interact physically and psychologically to create a mood that may spark thoughts about labour and redundancy within the domestic context.  

RAWLESS will be Claire’s first exhibition in Dumfries and Galloway, and will be accompanied by a newly commissioned short essay by Lizzie Lloyd, a writer and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and Art & Writing, UWE Bristol.   

Claire Barclay is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.  

With grateful thanks for Creative Scotland for their funding support.

Images: (top to bottom) Claire Barclay,  Soft Snag, 2023,  steel, steel wire, stained quilted linen, 374 x 100 x 70cm, installation and detail, photo: Todd White; studio, 31 May 2024, photo: Emma Dove

Claire Barclay (born 1968,Paisley), lives and works in Glasgow. 

Claire is a leading figure in a generation of graduates from the Glasgow School of Art in the 1990s, who rose to prominence in the contemporary art world. She has since been the subject of numerous solo presentations including Tate Britain, London (2004); Camden Art Centre, London (2008); MUDAM, Luxembourg (2009); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2010); Tramway, Glasgow (2017) and the MAC, Belfast (2022). 

 In 2020 Claire was commissioned by Tideway, London to create a series of artworks for the new public realm site at Putney, London, which was unveiled in 2023. She presented new work as part of Glasgow International, Scotland in 2017 and the 2016 Gwangju Biennale, South Korea. She represented Scotland as part of the Scottish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Italy in 2003.

Other notable solo exhibitions include Claire Barclay, Sculpture Court, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, Scotland (2019); Deep Spoils, Mission Gallery, Swansea, Wales (2018); Claire Barclay: Overworkings, Touchstones Rochdale, Lancashire, England (2015); Claire Barclay, Another Kind of Balance, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland (2013); Reading off the Surface, Skulpturi, Copenhagen, Denmark (2011); Claire Barclay, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland (2009); Fault on the Right Side, Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany (2007). 

 Claire’s works are included in prominent collections including; Scottish National Galleries, Edinburgh, Scotland; Arts Council Collection, London, UK; British Council, UK; Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Tate, London; MUDAM, Luxembourg and Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, USA.