For Barker this is sourced from his ongoing stimulation, or what he calls “replenishment”, from the female form.  This particular shape may be where all artists begin, but for Barker it continues and provides a bodily, sensual interaction that clearly draws out modernism’s Russian roots, in a flavour particular to Barker’s own roots, from his upbringing in Australia.  One can see, throughout his early style, the sustaining influence from the biocentric organicism seen in Russian modernist art, alongside the nymph-motif and life from an early Malevich, or the piercing ‘sculpto-painting’ of Archipenko.  From this Barker’s lines erect a tone more alive than merely geometrical, so that, as he says, “I’m giving life form to a mechanical shape.”  

As the world looks forward through this prevalent interest in modernism, towards the life force of Modernity from which this era sprang, Barker’s work provides the interactive space and sensitivity with colour to raise those very questions which, as alive as their source in Kant’s enduring maxim, ‘Dare to know’, ask about our place within this particular space and time, as moulded, revealed or perhaps tarnished; but certainly made from modernist principles.

Lorna Collins
Art Critic
These exhibitions are ongoing, and include:
‘Modernism: Designing a New World 1914 – 1939’, 6/04/06 – 23/07/06, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
‘Albers & Moholy-Nagy, From Bauhaus to the New World’, 9/03/06 – 4/06/06, Tate Modern, London ‘Sean Scully: Wall of Light’, 26/09/06 – 15/01/07, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York ‘Grace Crowley – Being Modern’, 23/12/06 – 6/0307, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
‘Revolutionary Russians;Commemorating the centenary of Shostakovich’,23/09/06 – 28/01/07, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
‘Georgia O’Keeffe: Nature and Abstraction’, 7/03/07 – 13/05/07, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin ‘Is modernity our antiquity?’, leitmotif at Documenta 12, 16/06/07 - 23/09/07, Kassel

 

Copyright 2011