Sara Barker (b1980, Manchester, UK) uses a combination of materials – initially, rougher, cheaper ones, such as cardboard, and, later, more permanent metals such as steel, aluminium and brass, alongside glass and automotive paint – to create works that blur the boundaries between figuration and abstraction; sculpture, painting and drawing; and imagined and physical spaces. The tension in her pieces is felt viscerally by the viewer, who is drawn into a dialogue, already taking place between the works themselves. Heavily influenced by literature, poetry and language, Barker calls for human interaction with her creations.
Sara Barker. JOINT, 2020. Stainless steel tray, stainless steel rod, automotive paint, oil paint and stick, varnish, tinfoil perspex, 60 x 49 x 9 cm. Photo: Mike Bolam.
Her exhibition undo the knot, on show at CAMPLE LINE, includes, for the first time, what Barker describes as “exploratory works” – her initial, rougher “sketches” – which are not yet fully resolved, leaving open questions. Part of her motivation to include these works was the change in her approach to her practice, brought about by the first lockdown, when she became incredibly aware of a sense of having too much, endless time, yet simultaneously of none of it being available. Working from home, instead of her studio, she sought to bring her full daily experience into her work – all of the mundane and profound moments of life.
Sara Barker. PULL, 2020. Stainless steel tray, stainless steel rod, automotive paint, oil paint, rag, perspex, 43 x 50 x 16 cm . Photo: Mike Bolam.
Studio International spoke to Barker via Zoom about how lockdown altered her practice, the role of tension and fragmentation in her work, and how the building at CAMPLE LINE became a work in the exhibition in its own right.
Sara Barker: undo the knot
CAMPLE LINE, Cample Mill, Scotland
31 October 2020 – 30 January 2021
Interview by ANNA McNAY
Sara Barker. climb, 2020. Brass metal work, 13 x 8 x 4 cm. Photo: Mike Bolam.
Performance and Play
The curators James Lindon and Erin Manns have taken the idea of the 'absentee performer' as a starting point for this exhibition, and present a wide range of possible formulations of 'performance' in contemporary art. The idea of performance is continually repositioned here to encompass notions of illusion and theatricality, ritual and process, social etiquette and subversive behaviour in which the viewers themselves play a key role.
Hiroshi Sugimoto: End of Time
The first comprehensive retrospective of Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto's work to take place in his homeland, Japan, opened in September 2005 at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. Running until 9 January 2006, the Mori exhibit focuses on Sugimoto's photographic work from the 1970s to the present and includes the world premiere of his 'Colours of Shadow'; a new series of colour photographs highlighting the changing light in Sugimoto's studio.
A View of Africa, From the Inside Out
Africa is a vast region that now comprises more than 50 nations. Created through a long history of ethnic and cultural alchemy, Africa and the people who live there defy easy categorisation. Faced with the complexity of defining what is 'African', the media has tended to use a shorthand that reduces the African people to a few well-known images: poverty, civil war, political corruption and disease. The photographers and multimedia artists featured in 'Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography', which opened in March 2006 at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York City, resist prevailing views of their country, their history and their identities as 'African' artists.
The Possibilities of Paint: An Interview with John Zinsser by Cindi Di Marzo
For John Zinsser, painting and paint are more than a process and medium; they are his subjects. During his career, Zinsser has remained committed to the possibilities of painting and abstraction, while the contemporary art market moves from one trend to the next. His method of reducing and defining the terms of his art grounds it in basic premises, which then open up a vast range of potential effects and responses.
Jon Schueler: A Painter of Our Time
John Bellany's (b.1942) paintings are among the most confrontational humanistic paintings produced in Britain in recent history. Layered with references to the Expressionistic tradition in art (Bosch, Breughel, Beckmann) and his own dramatic life, recent death and incredible survival, they are allegories of mortality that have no rival today. The drama of his own life is given artistic credence by his masterly use of references to artists from the past, as well as to the life of Scottish fishing communities like that of Port Seton, near Edinburgh, and Eyemouth, on the North Sea, where he grew up.