Barbara Griffiths is an English artist who studied at Maidstone College of Art and The Slade School, London. She exhibited at The Piccadilly Gallery and The Lasson Gallery in London and wrote and illustrated two books for young adults which were published internationally. In 1995 she moved to Connecticut where she made work concerned with ideas about human nature, identity, and religion. She exhibited at The Silvermine Guild, New Canaan Library, Katonah Museum, Long Island Museum, The Greenwich Arts Center, and The University of Connecticut. To accompany an exhibition of Bible illustrations at The Fairfield Arts Center, Griffiths staged public debates with a Priest and a Rabbi; these questioned the existence of God. Her satirical ‘Bible Stories for Children’ won praise from Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris and was serialized in Skeptic Magazine, U.K.

Griffiths has recently moved to  Brooklyn and is currently painting Zoom portraits. Her self-portrait is featured on the NYAC 'Curated Shows' page, and her work is included in the online exhibit 'Lost & Found'; also in 'Connections' at The Atlantic Gallery, 27th St., and 'Art Over Time' at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists'Gallery.



Reviews

“I LOVE your Illustrated Bible Stories… Thanks so much for sending me a copy of this fine piece of work… Amazing, delightful…”

Daniel Dennett, America’s foremost philosopher; author of ‘Breaking the Spell’ and ‘Consciousness Explained’


“One of the enduring ironies of religious discourse in our time is that very few people realize how shockingly immoral the biblical God actually is. Barbara Griffiths has done a wonderful service in bringing some of the Bible’s hallowed barbarism to life, with illustrations which capture the sadism and capriciousness of the God of Abraham. This is a beautiful book.”

Sam Harris, author of the New York Times bestsellers ‘The End of Faith’ and ‘Letter to a Christian Nation’


“The artist’s statement Barbara Griffiths has prepared for the nine or 10 paintings she has in a group show at the University of Connecticut Stamford Art Gallery will include these words:‘As I approach the end of a lifetime dedicated to art, a problem arises; what will become of my accumulated paintings? … In this pre-death exhibition, the usual optimistic gallery labels (‘Portrait, $5,000’) are accompanied by post-death instructions, which indicate the work’s true value and fate’. Is Griffiths signaling that she is dying? To answer too directly, if there are direct answers to be had, would rob the exhibit of its provoking power. ...”

Connecticut Post, 8/14/16


“Barbara Griffiths, an Englishwoman who moved from London to a Connecticut suburb a decade ago, says she has purposely tried to view her adopted hometown through an anthropologist’s eyes. ‘I’m fascinated by the various tribes that populate my suburb,’ she says, citing, for example, ‘Women Who Like Cats,’ ‘The Episcopalian Flower Committee’ and ‘The British Wives of Canadian Husbands Who Lived in Singapore for a While.’ A painting like Griffiths’ ‘The New Pioneers’ offers a somewhat surreal take on the aspirations of suburban homebuilders in an image of a well-dressed couple whose dream house appears to be taking shape amidst the rubble of old and new civilizations — ancient statuary, a toilet bowl and PVC pipes. To better understand the dynamics of suburban tribes, Griffiths joined one — a local book group. Such groups, she says, are about seeking a sense of community when connections are arbitrary and tenuous in a society where everyone moves on after five years.”

Art & Antiques, 5/07


“…a light-hearted but sharp-eyed exploration of suburbia as a state of mind… Barbara Griffiths ‘New Pioneers,’ a surreal view of an elegantly dressed couple posing before the skeletal construction of their country manor, is a wry takeoff on an 18th century painting by Thomas Gainsborough of young marrieds surveying their estate… you can love the burbs or hate them, but they can‘t be ignored as this show cleverly makes clear.”

New York Times, 3/24/06


“Artists in affluent Fairfield County can suffer from an environmental malaise of self satisfaction. If no one bothers to disturb the domestic order of suburbia, then what truly is at stake? Instead of expanded consciousness arising out of creative ferment and risk-taking visions of the Real, we have a pursuit of paintings that look good above someone‘s couch….a new Silvermine member is upsetting the domestic order by holding fast to the vision of an outsider. Barbara Griffiths is a recent immigrant from England where she obtained international recognition for her first exhibition upon graduation from the Slade School of Art. As her compelling new series reveals, maintaining a vision of individuality is no small feat amidst the pressures of conformity in the environment that inspired ‘The Stepford Wives’ and ‘The Ice Storm.’ ‘New Canaan Observed: A Field Study’ is a challenging form of social satire, a hilarious send-up of the post-modern practice of the curator‘s theory usurping the art it purports to describe. The artist’s wry English wit skewers her ripe human subjects by means of a virtuoso brush that incorporates ego and id in the same stroke….Griffiths superb control of her material speaks volumes about the limitations of feminism in an affluent consumer society.”

The Advocate and Greenwich Times, 3/14/05


‘Upsetting the Domestic Order at Silvermine’

“It’s hard to imagine anyone — especially, for some reason a man — getting mad at Barbara Griffiths, who blends in, almost to the point of being invisible, amongst the gathering of affluent suburbanites who have come to the opening reception for ‘New Canaan Observed: A Field Study’ at the prestigious Silvermine Guild Arts Center. Her appearance may be unassuming, but her intelligence and her ability to uproot the naked truth about her subject matter, which comes through in the nine extraordinarily rendered paintings and accompanying texts, are nothing short of intimidating. This, surely, and not Griffiths’ demeanor, is what drove one gentleman to near apoplexy the night of the opening…quite frankly, his reaction wasn’t entirely out of left field. If her expose offends, it’s because it cuts close to the bone. ’

The Fairfield County Weekly, 3/11/05


‘The Subversive Sociology of Barbara Griffiths’

“Invigorating new blood at Silvermine… Big, bold statements are just what we need to energize an art world reeling fom Sept. 11th, and it is thrilling to find them at Silvermine… Why did we have to wait so long to be treated to a visual commentary on the Stepford Wife syndrome of New Canaan? It would take an outsider, one would suppose, and Griffiths arriving from London has saved the day. In rootless condition, sly alluded to as ‘The Precarious Position of the Global Wife on the Social Stockmarket.’ In doing so, she resurrects herself Ann Sexton-style into a bold and refreshing artistic voice that speaks to all women, regardless of lifestyle choices.”

The Advocate and Greenwich Times, 1/20/02


“One hesitate to use the word ’genius’ to describe this first one-man show, but there is no other word. These drawings betoken a fecund and peculiar imagination in which the dreams and nightmares of childhood are recollected and portrayed with an awesome and disconcerting tranquillity.”

Max Wykes-Joyce, London critic, International Herald Tribune


“Barbara Griffiths has done a series of drawings in the past two years in a mode which can best be described as surrealist. They are now on show in London. All are prompted by the imagery of her dreams, which, she says, ‘sounds corny.’ The drawings certainly are not; they’re mainly fairly horrific images of what she calls ‘the entropy and sheer bad taste of life,’ made curiously appealing by the use of vivid pastels and intricate crayon lines. A beflowered, bespectacled werewolf wearing a design centre madallion; a cinema of life behind fractured glass surmounted by a sunset; a castle topped with a skyscraper in the ocean. Many have to do with sex and women, but Griffiths says her work isn’t about women in particular, only ‘the humiliation of being human.’”

The Observer Review


“Though it is fairly rare for an artist to have a first exhibition in a West-End gallery, Barbara Griffiths, whose show of crayon drawings opens at the Lasson Gallery in Jermyn Street tomorrow, has accomplished not just this but a second feat in addition. Almost every single one of her twenty seven works has been sold before the doors are open to the public.”

The London Daily Telegraph


“Barbara Griffiths of the Slade School honorably upholds the impeccable traditions of this institution in her impeccable Surrealist drawings, delicate alike in line and color.”

Oxford Times


“An unknown artist like Barbara Griffiths can never before have had such a sensational beginning…”

The London Sunday Times


“Barbara Griffiths’ ‘A Gruesome Body’ is a welcome breath of fresh air in the normally fetid atmosphere of the macabre… Entertainment is provided by the author’s swirling, atmospheric line drawings. These convey the same feelings of panic and disorder found in some late 19th century illustrations of ghost stories…The pictures have the extra appeal of mystery as well as fear, since the symbols they use can only be deciphered after a carefully reading of their accompanying stories. By welding graphics and text so successfully, Barbara Griffiths announces herself as an author-illustrator worth watching out for.”

Times Literary Supplement


“Barbara Griffiths has raised the horror genre to a high art. Her illustrations are as macabre as the tales and are finely executed. Dialogue is often realistically coarse, and equally often witty, or both. The whole has a touch, more than a touch, of genius. Certainly the book is the product of a remarkable imagination.”

School Librarian


“Griffiths debuts with a group of scary stories that are guaranteed to shock and delight young readers with their deft plot spins and bold swashes of gore in a deceptively ‘normal’ world. In ‘Decorating the Bridge’, a student dies in a train accident and is reincarnated as his bumbling, alcoholic teacher; in ‘The Slipscream,’ a boy thinks he has done away with a potential stepfather – only to be haunted forever by his apparition. Tersely worded and swiftly paced, the ghoulish fun features comically eerie black and white illustrations, matching the tales’ cooly ironic tone.”

Kirkus Reviews


“This excellent collection of chilling stories, with a stunning book jacket, will appeal to anyone who wants a change from the usual horror story. The author has taken familiar and often innocent situations and turned them into the things nightmares are made of…As well as the collection being well written with storylines that keep you reading faster and faster, the black and white drawings are fantastic. The author is primarily an artist and this shows in the way the often macabre illustrations depict the plot and urge you to read on – if you dare!”

Durrant’s Junior Bookshelf


“Ten short stories, set mostly in England, featuring ghosts; murders, both cold-blooded and accidental; frightening visions of the future; and a fatal curse from the past. Several of the tales are cleverly plotted in a Hitchcockian sort of way. Although they aren’t particularly gruesome, almost all convey an underlying cruelty or unrelenting darkness. The heavily crosshatched, stylized black-ink drawings contribute to the gloom. Whereas such collections as Vivien Alcock’s The Monster Garden produce a pleasurable tingle to the spine, these stories will leave readers with a shudder that may take days to shake. Fare for future fans of Stephen King.”

School Library Journal Publications