Barfield, N & Barfield, R & Walker, A 2013, 'geographies2', exhibited at: Guang-yu-shi-guang (Light that Matters) Gallery, 798 Arts District, Beijing, China, from 18/05/2013 to 18/06/2013.
In this work, Raz Barfield presents the ostensibly ‘objective’ world of our material existence as a place that is somehow beyond reach, seen and experienced only through the filters of memory and psychological constructs, and which may not be ordered or understood other than by searching and sorting recalled experience, and associations of meaning. He explicitly draws a line–an invisible line, constantly shifting, stronger or weaker–between the internal and external worlds, and the events and memories that take place in or arise from within each.
In rendering a world that is by its nature knowable only to oneself, he develops a dialogue between maps, the conventional system of ordering and representing the world, and weaves this through a framework of personal symbols and associations. Maps, for him, are narrative spaces; mental constructs whose conventions offer endless possibilities, but which pose intellectual and philosophical challenges, creating or reconstructing space, time and histories (real or potential) within the viewer.
Maps as abstractions appear to provide a means of representing unknowable worlds. While all Barfield's work is representational, and while the human figure is frequently represented, his spaces and figures are stripped of identity, even of defining characteristics. His figure is a human, not a specific individual. It is both author and viewer, revealing to the viewer his act in recreating the world after themselves, and locating them simultaneously both inside and outside the world, which is the nature of the map. Thus for him, the map serves the function of the metaphorical ‘mirror’ of art, holding itself up to the viewer for self-examination.
In geographies2 Allan Walker has drawn on his earlier series of 12 prints called 'Walk in the City', to produce a set of 4 images that are broader in both their geographical and literary scope. He builds on a matrix of possibilities of chance encounters, recorded in a short walk in the City of the Manchester, to draw allusions to timeless states and overlayed memories of specific and generic urban spaces, of direct, indirect and mediated messages encountered in the street landscape, and the map. The images in this series of prints occur within a small space in the city centre, and are overlaid and framed within hoardings, posters and graffiti, yet they point to memories, times, and spaces beyond themselves.
In this series, Walker continues to explore the way in which the walls of buildings, hoardings and temporary security fences are used as supports to transmit messages, whilst also concealing from view the space and activities taking place within. The range and variety of images constitutes a parallel world of mediated messages, which are created in an attempt to attract the attention of passers-by. The images often use people, models, musicians and politicians, reproduced in varying scales–very small to overbearingly huge–creating an almost alternative reality of an independent super-sized population; a fiction underlined by the literary allusions and references to other invented worlds.
Guang-yu-shi-guang (Light that Matters) Gallery, 798 Arts District
From 18/05/2013 to 18/06/2013.