Right from the start, Barney wanted to put his own body and his own experiences in his works. He started using his body and began situations that bought resistance to his body due to his previous experience of football and being an athlete. He put a studio and form in the way that he was able to understand it. Barney works with all the things that he finds attractive – whether he likes them or not does not influence this. The imagination in his work is also a path he always wants to follow, among with violence and sexuality as common themes.
His other works also include sculpture, photography, drawing and film. His earlier works are sculptural installations combined with performance and video. Barney is also known for his works of The Cremaster Cycle, a performance and film series of six episodes, described as “one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema” (Jonathan Jones, The Guardian). This film series was made in the order of 4, 1, 5, 2, 3 and is inspired by the chromosome that controls the height in men, the Cremaster chromosome. All the props and scenes that were used in the making of these are found on the website and left as part of an exhibition. Within one of the episodes, horses are running, running, dead, which is a part of the imagination Barney considers in his work. The horses are also in full spandex suits, and a vet was on hand to ensure that the horses were not overworked or overheated, so there wasn’t long to shoot with each horse. Another, perhaps strange, aspect of Barney’s work is the switch from zombie to art deco in this series.
That of the Drawing Restraint series are used to experiment with the body, and the limits that which Barney can take. Within this performance, he draws upon the athletic model of development in which growth occurs only through restraint – the muscle encounters resistance, becomes engorged and is broken down, and in healing becomes stronger. The types of restraints used included harnesses, trampolines, brooms, attempting to reach parts of the room that conventionally cannot be reached without aid. This allowed Barney to create unique artworks that encompass the whole space.
He always worked dilligently towards his goals with both the artistic side and the business side. barney tries to work with organic life under the plastic feel. He views the world through images rather than models. There is a way that violence is sublimated into a form and thus becomes a theme, and the characters that he uses has taken inspiration from this.