The pandemic and the drawing imagination
Drawing Blog by Garry Barker
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2d ago
Ambika Devi I tend to write posts in those times when I'm ruminating on stuff as opposed to making things. During the time of covid I did a lot of ruminating and this post is left over from then. I still think it is relevant and even though the epidemic now feels as if it has passed, I suspect we have not seen the last of it, or similar outbreaks of infections. The covid pandemic has been a unique phenomena and artists in every part of the world had to respond to it. This was a marvellous opportunity to look at how different societies and the art cultures within them responded and it demon ..read more
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Why Proust still matters
Drawing Blog by Garry Barker
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2w ago
Marcel Proust on his deathbed, Paul-César Helleu, 1922 When in the late1960s I was first at art college in Wolverhampton, I was told to read Proust. I did but very slowly, gradually over the years reading bits of Swan's Way, The Guermantes Way or Time Regained, never actually reading all seven parts of 'In Search of Lost Time'. I dipped into it as if occasionally swimming in a dark pools, each of which was full of strange and exotic creatures, that turned out on examination to be based on the familiar forms of childhood experience.  Proust reminds us that everyday experience is stra ..read more
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Macro and micro embodied networks
Drawing Blog by Garry Barker
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2w ago
Typus Sympathicus Microcosmi cum Megacosmo: Oedipus Aegyptiacus: Athanasius Kircher In the image above, the body's organs are shown, along with zodiacal and planetary symbols. The dotted lines are labelled in Latin with the name of the body parts they point towards. The outer ring names various plants, diseases and foods. The image reflects a desire to link everything together and it suggests that various correspondences exist between humans and the environment they exist within. This reminded me of the fact that when we begin to look at other species beside ourselves, they nearly alway ..read more
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Kirby dots and Kirby crackle
Drawing Blog by Garry Barker
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1M ago
  Jack Kirby In my last post on invisible rays I mentioned the fact that Jack Kirby had devoted much of his career to the depiction of both physical and psychic energies. I have also decided to devote a full post to this issue because a blog on drawing at some point has to acknowledge the influence of Jack Kirby on any artist who read American superhero comic books when growing up in the 1960s. I have in the past referred to Steve Ditko's surreal visionary landscapes, that made up the backgrounds of Doctor Strange comics, but it was Jack Kirby that developed visual languages tha ..read more
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The fine art of the tattoo
Drawing Blog by Garry Barker
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1M ago
Tattooing is now featured in major museum exhibitions. In the tradition of the tattoo artist, the Romantic outsider artist as a lone genius stereotype disappears and an even older tradition based on a more communal art form re-emerges. In particular the tattooist works very closely with the client, because they will be 'wearing' the images created on their body for the rest of their lives. The client is in effect, curating their skin as a developing image and the tattoo artist is working with them to do this. This is a symbiotic relationship, but of course the tattoo artist still has to have a ..read more
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Klara Kristalova: Ceramics and drawings
Drawing Blog by Garry Barker
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1M ago
Exhibition display of Klara Kristalova's 2D work I first came across Klara Kristalova's work in Copenhagen at the Gammel Strand gallery. Sue and I had decided to have a short break back in I think 2017 and entering the gallery was an unexpected pleasure, in particular in relation to how Kristalova's work was displayed. Her 2D ideas were shown alongside her ceramics, in such as way that the drawings didn't seem secondary to the 3D making, they both held their own space and the narrative impact was very strong, as there were a lot of ideas all being shown at once ..read more
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John Craxton and Jake Grewal
Drawing Blog by Garry Barker
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2M ago
Too much to say: Jake Grewal I recently saw the John Craxton exhibition at the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester and after spending some time with his work, moved on and found hosted within their more permanent collection some of Jake Grewal's charcoal drawings, that he had on exhibition alongside a few of his paintings. Craxton was born in 1922 and yet his work feels as if it still has resonance, especially when you put it alongside the work of an artist born in 1994. Some days I feel more alive: Jake Grewal Jake Grewal’s drawn landscapes include naked men, figures that you ..read more
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Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood
Drawing Blog by Garry Barker
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2M ago
Claudette Johnson: Afterbirth, 1990, pastel on paper, 118 x 83 cm I was in Bristol recently and went to see the Acts of Creation: On Art and Motherhood exhibition at the Arnolfini. It finishes on the 26th of May, so there is little time to get to see it, but still worth I think a review as it raises several issues that are still very pertinent to contemporary art practice. The exhibition sets out to balance our view of how motherhood has been portrayed in art, the introduction to the exhibition stating;  'While the Madonna and Child is one of the great subjects of European art, we r ..read more
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Collaboration and copying
Drawing Blog by Garry Barker
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2M ago
A Braarudosphaera bigelowii cell, with a black arrow showing its nitrogen-fixing organelle Tyler Coale, University of California, Santa Cruz Two of the strands that this blog tries to weave in and out of its fabric are collaboration and copying. Sometimes as a way to develop new drawing ideas in responses to experiences in collaboration with another artist, and at other times as a reminder that we cant really exist without operating in collaboration with the environment that surrounds us. Our very existence depends on collaboration. Not only our day to day survival in relation to a symbiologi ..read more
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William Blake at the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge
Drawing Blog by Garry Barker
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2M ago
Casper David Friedrich: Sea at sunrise William Blake’s Universe at the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge is a wonderful exhibition, so good that I had to spend two days in Cambridge, so that I could go back and look twice. The quality and range of the images is extraordinary and it is not just Blake's work that you need to see. For instance there are images by Casper David Friedrich, that reminded me that it is possible to create landscapes that glow with mystic spirituality, such as 'Sea at sunrise', images that need to be seen in the flesh if you really want to get an idea of their intensit ..read more
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