Anna Barriball was born in Plymouth, England in 1972. She studied at Falmouth School of Art, Winchester School of Art and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London.

Barriball plays with the nature of domestic objects and spaces. There is a minimalist quality to her installations and sculptural works, which involve making subtle alterations to everyday items, modifying their intended function in order to create something beautiful and unexpected. Previous works have included wrapping a wooden chair in pink ribbons (Chair, 2004) or obscuring a map of the world with silver ink (Silver Map, 2003). These intensive exercises show a desire to both interact with and make sense of the world around us.

A mainstay of her practice is the making of shaded, monochrome drawings, which trace the shape and texture of objects to create delicate copies on paper, often changing the actual surface of the paper in the process. In Green + Blue = Cyan (2001), Barriball applies this technique to the intangible medium of light, overlaying the beams from two lamps (one with a green body, one blue) onto a felt-pen drawing that mimics the shape and shade of the beams. This simple, poetic act encourages the viewer to consider the scientific rationale behind the qualities of colour and light – the building blocks of many artworks.