Selected Drawings 2016-2018

“It feels like words have never been so important – those written in the press, posted across social media and in speeches from our politicians. In volatile times words can be dangerous.”

B. Barford


As part of his ongoing research into understanding the perceived lack of happiness in major Western democracies, Barford has been working with words to explore the complex nature of the socio-cultural environment we live in today. These words – Reality, Courage, More, Power, Trust, and many more – repeated over and over, hold up a mirror to society, prompting us to reflect upon inequalities, obsessions, systems of belief.

Repetition (accumulation) is key in Barford’s work; from his large-scale energetic word drawings to the monumental sculptures created from thousands of individual industrially produced ceramic pieces, he constructs layered narratives that develop below the surface. In the case of the Word Drawings, the same word is repeated until its meaning becomes warped.


For instance, in ‘Facts’, Barford wanted to reflect upon what facts mean today. A fact is something that is proved to be true, but now we live in a post-facts society. We are overloaded with so-called facts but can no longer discern what is true or false.

In part due to the overwhelming ocean of unverified information we drown in, it feels like truth has never been less influential in shaping opinions, and we face a general confusion in knowing who to trust.