Barry Wolfryd was born in Los Angeles, California, but he has conducted the major part of his artistic carrier in Mexico, where he has lived for the last 35 years.
Under the influences of jazz, the music of Frank Zappa, pop and the New York school of art Wolfryd carried out his first creative trials. These experiences developed an ideological base that he would bind with the culture by means of historic consciousness and social critique. Wolfryd began his artistic studies in 1972 at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.A. The next following ten years he continued in art schools alternating between in his native country and Mexico.
At 22 years of age he moved to Mexico and in 1975 he enrolled at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. In 1982 he studied at the Chicago Art Institute and in 1984 at the National Institute for the Arts in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. It was at this moment that Wolfryd discovered the culture of Mexican cynicism (“the fuck or get fucked”, according to Octavio Paz), from which his work by in large degree has been defined. In 1985 he moved to Mexico City where he broadened his artistic activities. He was present during the devastating earthquake of September 19 of that year. From this tragedy artists and art in Mexico took a historical turn of events. Wolfryd became an active player in the new vision and dynamic that overtook the “Nopal Curtain”, established by the previous generation of artist such as Rufino Tamayo and José Luis Cuevas.
By 1986 he had his first major individual showing and began to participate in national and international exhibitions in Mexico City, Chicago, Dallas, San Antonio, Los Angeles, New York City, and Rome. In 1987, he started collaborating with Salon dés Aztecas, an artistic group who established a break with the dominant trends of the visual arts in Mexico by taking public spaces and buildings to transform them in collective intervention projects. “The Taking of Balmori”, “El Rule” and “El Vizcaínas” were just a few of these projects. He founded in 1998 the experimental space Out Gallery. Along with Salon dés Aztecas, The Zone and La Quiñonera, the space helped to create one of the most dynamic artistic phenomena of Mexico City.
During a season in Los Angeles, California (2005-2008), he opened a workshop at The Brewery, a conglomerate of more than 150 studies of artistic creators. There, by incorporating elements, icons and symbols of his hometown, his work took a new direction, with a political approach and anti consumerist issues. Since 2008, back in Mexico, Wolfryd began a new painting series that documented the violence gripping the country, resulting from the activities of organized crime. Presently he is working on a series of five large portal murals that will be displayed in 2014.
Barry Wolfryd Photo Credit, Juan San Jan (Fragment)