Bay Backner Signature
Artist Statement

I search for a visual language to express the truths of female identity. I am as equally influenced by Rembrandt and Goya as I am nail art, ecclesiastical embroidery and piped icing.

I am one of the first generation of artists to work outside the constraints of a culturally male establishment. For the first time, our paintings can openly express femininity without the need to conform, suppress or react.

I find my techniques in a history of female expression outside the gallery walls. I see my canvas as fabric to be cut, sewn and dyed, and my oil paints as veils to conceal or reveal the figures within. 


Solo Exhibitions

  • 2019 - ‘Obras Experimentales’, Espai Metafora, Valencia 
  • 2018 - ‘December’, Dandelion Gallery, Valencia
  • 2018 - ‘Cuentame Una Historia’, Vortex, Valencia
  • 2018 - ‘All Our Stories’, Vortex, Valencia
  • 2017 - ‘How to Be Beautiful’, The Gallery at 164, Leeds
  • 2017 - ‘Front Row’, Saltaire UNESCO World Heritage Site, Yorkshire
  • 2017 - Hale Residency at Make Art Shipley, Yorkshire

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2020 - London Fashion Week, Runway Gallery, London
  • 2020 - ‘Re-Visible’, The Crossley Gallery, Halifax
  • 2019 - ConFusion Festival 2019, El Cabanyal, Valencia 
  • 2019 - Open Studios, Colonia Roma, Valencia
  • 2018 - ‘15 x 15’, Sporting Club Russafa, Valencia
  • 2018 - Feria del Arte, Sporting Club Russafa, Valencia
  • 2018 - ‘NOW HERE’, 4P Gallery, Valencia
  • 2018 - AAF Battersea, Edgar Modern Gallery Stand, London
  • 2017 - Leeds Light Night, Festival of the Arts, Leeds
  • 2017 - Saltaire Arts Festival, Yorkshire
  • 2015 - ‘Pick & Mix’, Dye House Gallery, Bradford


  • ‘Meet the anti-scroll model, Bay Backner’, Grazia Magazine, June ‘17
  • ‘Artist looks to world's leading ladies to help define our idea of beauty’, Yorkshire Post, Sept ‘17
  • ‘Painting a picture of beauty’, Yorkshire Evening Post, Sept ‘17


  • 2006 - Tate Britain, Short course, Contemporary Still Life
  • 2006 - Central Saint Martins, UAL, Experimental Printmaking
  • 2003 - 2005 - Canterbury Christ Church University College & Teachfirst, QTS
  • 2001 - 2003 - Life Drawing, Ruskin School of Art, Oxford
  • 1999 - 2003 - Magdalen College, University of Oxford, MA Physics

Bay Backner challenges the boundaries of oil painting to examine the cultural representation of women. Her female forms are masterful self-portraits embodying societal, political and personal realities. Her compositions play with contrast, equilibrium and ambiguity; hyper-feminine imagery dances with androgyny, stitchcraft with optical science, fluorescent pigments with heritage oil paints, and linear geometries with nebula abstraction.

Backner is a British post-Brexit artist working in Valencia, Spain. She holds a degree in Physics from Oxford University, gained while studying life-drawing at The Ruskin School of Art and theatre design in The Oxford Playhouse. Her paintings exhibit internationally and have been featured by Grazia magazine. Backner is the current artist in residence at The British School of Valencia, and is certified by the Smithsonian Institute in Teaching Critical Thinking through Art. She is founder of women’s arts collective Colonia Roma.  

Little Black Book of Valencia

Each Artist on Runway Gallery is asked to share their Little Black Book of their hometown. This is Bay's Valencia.

Best Restaurant & Why?

Restaurante Bodega Bar Flor in Carrer Marti Grajales. Open in the same location since 1893 in El Cabanyal, Valencia’s traditional barrio of tiled fisherman’s houses. A daily menu of Valencian family cooking.

Favourite Bar & Why?

Two bars in Russafa, Valencia’s art neighbourhood: Slaughterhouse Food & Books in Carrer de Dénia and La Bella de Cadiz in Carrer de Cadiz. Slaughterhouse is lined with books I want to read, La Bella de Cadiz is filled with vintage treasure.

Name an Area of Valencia you Love?

My neighbourhood, Ayora

Name one Gallery you always go to Valencia?

Centre del Carme Cultural Contemporania (CCCC) - Valencia´s contemporary gallery in a former convent, with cloisters, a bell tower and thrilling art curation.

Favourite Boutique/Shop?

The vintage clothes market which fills the streets of El Cabanyal on Thursday mornings, from around 10am until 1pm. 

Where can you be found on a Saturday night?

Saturday evening is family night in Valencia, so gathered around a table with putxero (stew), arroz el horno (baked rice) or paella.

Its Sunday in Valencia

A morning in the old town to see the latest show at CCCC, walking under tiled balconies and eating empanadas from the bakery on Carrer Roteros.

Where do you go for some peace and quiet

We drive out to the mountains, to the caves and waterfalls near Yatova


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