Bohuslav Barlow was born as Bohuslav Klos in Bruntal, a small peasant township in Upper Moravia, Czechoslovakia, in 1947.
Bohuslav's family fled Czechoslovakia while he was a baby as The Iron Curtain descended; for Furstenfeldbruk near Munich. Soon after this his mother moved to England to obtain work, leaving a young Bohuslav in the care of his grandparents. While spending his early years in Bavaria he gained two prevailing memories. The first of which was looking up at the high baroque ceiling in Furstenfeldbruk Church while singing the Catholic chants, and admiring the glorious angels and fat-bottomed putti as they swirled around in a complex design of whites and golds. The second memory was of his home in late summer, aflame with poppies and with a distant view of the Bavarian Alps far beyond. Although his first memory is of Catholic imagery you will not find any in his mature work unlike flowers from his second memory which is recurring even in his most recent pictures.
At 8 years old, Bohuslav was summoned to England to his mother and stepfather (from whom he took the surname Barlow) in Blackpool. Understandably, it took time to adjust and settle in England; which was made worse by the suspicion in which people from Germany were regarded so soon after the end of WWII. But it was during Bohuslav's early years in England that he began to express himself through art. His first picture was a view of the famous Blackpool Tower. He then progressed to copying film posters and gradually moved onto better things; which were often linked to an imaginary world that he told his step siblings stories about. The discovery of his profession as an artist was slow and torturous; due to his family's extreme poverty, Bohuslav's early pictures were done in pencil and coloured crayons on cheap paper.
When he reached Manchester School of Art it gave him the opportunity to use oil paints for the first time. From here, he then went onto the Central School of Art in London in the grip of hard edge abstractionism; which was contrary to his own instincts. He taught for one term in London and from then on decided to live as a full time professional artist which he has done ever since.A critic once described my work as "Lyrical Surrealism".
While still living in London, Bohuslav travelled to Blackburn and by chance passed through Todmorden on his way. He was stuck by the wild, romantic scenery and felt that this was what he wanted to paint. And from this decision he moved to Todmorden at the age of 26; and then started to produce the work which has lead him to his imagery today. Bohuslav today still lives in Todmorden with his wife and two children. He finally found a place that felt like home.
His paintings and drawings can be viewed by appointment at 58 Burnley rd, Todmorden, Lancs. OL14 5EY
His current working studio is in Robinwood Mill, Burnley rd. Todmorden. OL14 8JA
"A highly original and fascinating artist"
- YORKSHIRE POST
"His paintings seem to represent the reaction of a sensitive artist to a tough environment"
- THE GUARDIAN
"His paintings are frozen moments in an intoxicating dream"
- COASTAL REVIEW U.S.A
"He can extract painful intensity from a subject as uncompromising as an old toy, discarded in an empty grate"
- THE GUARDIAN
DIP AD (Hons) Member of the Manchester Academy
Former member of the S G F A
ONE PERSON EXHIBITIONS
Hartnoll and Eyre - London
Manor House - Ilkley
Woodlands Gallery - Greenwich
Richard Parks Gallery U S A
Chalk Farm Gallery
Bury art Gallery
Grundy Gallery - Blackpool
Zantman Gallery - California
Piece Hall - Halifax
Harrogate Municipal Gallery
Rochdale Municipal Gallery
Haworth Gallery - Accrington
Posk Gallery - London
Royal Society of Painters Etchers and Engravers
Mathaf Gallery - Belgravia
British Artists Show Chelsea
Royal Academy Summer Show
Contemporary Art Fair - London
Roy Miles Gallery - London
Leeds Art Fairs
Fine Art Society Tatton Park Manchester
Atkinson Gallery Southport
Brewery Gallery - Kendal
Pastel Society Mall Galleries - London
Barn Gallery Cheshire
House of Commons Gallery - London
Yorkshire Watercolour Society - Harrogate
Lancashire Contemporaries - Preston
John Jones - London
Beatrice Royal Gallery - Southampton
Campden Gallery - Chipping Campden
His work is the subject of a limited edition book entitled
"Visual Alchemy - Bohuslav Barlow"
Published by Babylon Books in 1987
He is listed in
Who's Who in Art
Dictionary of International Biography
Full feature article in the Artist magazine 2012
His work has been featured on television and is in numerous public, private and corporate collections including
Our Paintings - national collection and online
Rochdale Municipal Gallery
The Monument Trust
Coopers and Lybrand Deloitte
Royal Family of Saudi Arabia - N. Rothschild
Hon Angus Ogilvy - Helen Worth
Michael Angelis - Beryl Reed