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Ian Barr

Each of my works is a personal response to a specific location, occasion or incident, mediated by time and the random and ambiguous processes of memory.  They are interpretations of often seemingly unimportant moments, locations and experiences.   

For the most part, the works relate to built places and objects in the environment. Each is a journey towards understanding and meaning-making for me.  

My working method begins with reflection on a particular place or experience.  Then starts the process of making visual sense of the specific stimulus.  It invariably involves working with a variety of materials and often using items from an assortment of found objects, odds and ends, fragments collected ‘at random’.  These might lie in the studio for months or even years until they somehow become ‘right’ for a work. And yet, though the fragments are collected seemingly ‘at random’, there is nothing random about how they come to be included in a work. They are often weathered or damaged, and while it may be possible to guess at their previous use - part of an old fence, a barn, a ruined cottage, a piece of furniture - what is important is that they have a unique and unknowable provenance.  In the works, they become objects in their own right, they live now, in the moment. 

The works are based on an acceptance of the natural cycle of growth and decay that acknowledges simple realities: nothing lasts; nothing is finished; nothing is perfect. It encourages us to find a flawed beauty in imperfection, to delight in wear, in visible repairs and in patina.  The wabi-sabi aesthetic characterised by asymmetry, simplicity, roughness and irregularity is an obvious influence on my work.  

Those who view these works will bring with them their own understandings, interpretations and memories with which to make sense of what they see. Each image should be understood in terms of the connections it suggests to the viewer and the meaning it brings to their own lives.

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