Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, continues their showcase of works by Glasgow-based installation artist Sara Barker, in collaboration with the previous exhibition at The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh. Comprising existing works with new pieces commissioned for Ikon, the multimedia show explores the notion of space across three dimensions.
Barker’s practice is one which defies categorisation: combining sculpture with painting and drawing across a variety of materials, she transforms contexts of objects through new collaborations within the gallery space. These processes build upon an interest in how the space in which we exist may be embued with memories, narratives and psychological projections.
Beginning with paintings that reflect the neutral and naturalised palette of the landscape, Barker continues to build upon the flat representation of colour and line. Metal rods are added, whilst the original frames of the painting are cut into to create a new structure – one which has never been created and exists only due to the re-working of materials already in existence of their own right.
As the artist explains: “I try to create disorienting sculptural collages, reliefs, at once compressing three dimensions to image, and creating optical illusions of space out of flat paintings, using surface to reflect, fragment, confuse and distort the path of the metal lineage.”
There are also dimensions to be found within Barker’s sources of inspiration: drawing upon the critical thoughts of writers such as Virginia Woolf, Doris Lessing and Gertrude Stein she examines the link between literary works and the sense of creative freedom found within the pages. She notes that: “I always felt that space was a metaphor for creative freedom and was something I wanted to make work about.” The place, setting, and characters evoked by such authors is mirrored, the artist states, within her own practice. Just as texts open up the mind of the reader so to does the work of installations as they find a place between new layers and imagined objects coming into existence.
Join the artist in conversation with Jonathan Watkins, Ikon Director, about her life and work, including the inspiration behind her current Ikon exhibition. Wednesday 2 November, 18:00 – 19:30. www.ikon-gallery.org
Sara Barker runs at Ikon until 27 November.
1. Sara Barker the letters F & M are characters, 2016 Aluminium sheet, wood, perspex, aluminium rod, automotive paint Courtesy the artist; Mary Mary, Glasgow; carlier | gebauer, Berlin; The Approach, London. Photo: Max Slaven