An unsettlingsurprise awaits those who visit the David Gill Gallery between Wednesday February 27 and Friday April 12. Here, Barnaby Barford, the British artist celebratedfor his subversive reworkings of traditional porcelain figurines, turns hiswickedly wry wit upon the seven deadly sins.
The sevensculptural wall pieces, each representing a different sin and all price on request, are strikingcreations – large mirrors encrusted with clusters of ceramic flowersand foliage. The first response is to marvel at Barford’s craftsmanship, butcloser inspection, consideration and indeed reflection reveal a darker side;many of the pretty handmade blooms bear the patina of images loaded withemotionally potent messages. The petals surrounding the bowel-shaped Gluttonymirror (first and second pictures) carryimages of fast food and takeaway menus, while the beguilingly beautiful petalsof Lust (third picture) bear the faces of porn stars,whose eyes are closed in a simulacrum of ecstasy. Avarice, Wrath (both in fourth picture) and the others contain their own surprises. Only close study reveals thedetail and to do so is to become part of the art, as viewers’ reflections becomeencircled by the flowers of each particular sin.
Uncomfortable,provocative and compelling, The Seven Deadly Sins is a show that draws the viewer in –quite literally – and seduces and shocks in equal measure.