I’m looking at the space between us and everything else. American culture has set forth deep-seated fabrications for generations to indiscriminately follow. These fabrications take many forms. The token “green moat” of our suburban lawns, the perpetual construction of urban highways, the barbed wire fence to keep out the unwanted. The idea of fabrication is essential to this current body of work as it is this industry that operates to provide our lives with convenience and security. The notion of “under construction” is a metaphor for the past present and future of our physical spaces. It implies a middle ground of growth: the time between when the space was raw and untouched to the site existing as a man-made creation, an object. This work investigates the transient barriers we create for safety and comfort.
These three dimensional still-life’s are comprised of compelling, but familiar imagery and materials related to urban infrastructure, geology, and the human body.
My current studio practice allows me to curate what is made and what is found. Building, finding, abstracting, and subverting the functions of these objects I aim to create an abstract dialogue within the pieces themselves. The often-stoic quality of the work is then compounded when viewers begin interacting with space, light, and shadow. The viewer is an integral part of the work, creating relationships and giving context to the objects. Tornado sirens, man-hole covers, wave breakers, and dams all serve as the white picket fence separating ourselves from the rest, giving us peace of mind despite the vastly disappearing elegance of our world.
— James Barker