Phyllida Barlow (1944– ) grew up in post-war Britain. Her father, the psychiatrist Erasmus Darwin Barlow, was the great-grandson of Charles Darwin. She graduated from Slade School of Fine Art in 1966 and began a forty-year long career as an art teacher at various institutions before she retired in 2009 to concentrate on her own art. During her teaching career she taught the celebrated artists Rachel Whiteread, Tacita Dean, Martin Creed and Ángela de la Cruz. Barlow and her husband, the artist and writer Fabian Benedict Peake, the son of Mervyn Peake, author of Gormenghast, have five children, two of whom are also successful artists – Eddie Peake and Florence Peake, leading the Independent to call them “a British art dynasty”. In 2010, she had her first exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Her work such as Rig (2011) [below] is largely made up of objects she has scavenged, such as wood, plaster, fabric and cement. In 2011 she was elected as a Royal Academician.
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