WYRD THEN : WEIRD NOW
Sol Bailey Barker, Tom Hatton and Joe Farley
Curated by Gabriella Sonabend
13 April – 21 May 2016
The Koppel Project Baker Street
“Today, the term ‘weird’ means something strange, bizarre, or supernatural. But in its archaic and original sense, it meant that aspect of life which was so deep, so all-pervasive, and so central to our understanding of ourselves and our world, that it was inexpressible.”
Brian Bates, author of Way Of Wyrd.
For ‘Wyrd Then : Weird Now’ artist Sol Bailey Barker takes the ancient ritual axe as a starting point to explore notions of sacred objects and rituals of the Neolithic landscapes of Europe. Through an investigation of the evolution of sacred forms and materials, and in reviving shamanic characters to perform ancient object-based rituals, Bailey Barker reflects on the relationship between societies and their enduring power symbols.
‘Wyrd Then: Weird Now’ features works from ‘Outpost’, a photographic series by Tom Hatton made around the North Wales mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The series, presenting the closed slate mines as evocative space-scapes, captures the harsh geometry of the landscape which is filtered through Bailey Barker’s work.
Bailey Barker has worked in collaboration with composer and sound artist Joe Farley to create a complex soundscape for the exhibition, making use of the sculptures’ sonic potential, and employing them as ritual instruments. This soundscape is used as the soundtrack for an accompanying film, made in collaboration with cinematographer Ruben Woodin Dechamps.
SOL BAILEY BARKER
Sol Bailey Barker is a British artist whose work ties together historical and sociological research with an inquiry into the power and symbolism of materials. His work often begins with a journey and months of research exploring landscapes and their histories. Past projects have taken him to the Himalayas, Colombia, Peru, France and Italy where he has created a number of public sculptures and worked alongside communities studying their folklore and exploring local craft and work practices in order to understand regional relationships to materials. In 2014, Bailey Barker was selected for the National Sculpture Symposium with ‘As Above, So Below’, a monumental work for Riverhill Himalayan Gardens. In 2014 he was artist in residence in Portico Di Romagna in Italy, and Lugar a Dudas in Colombia, and in 2015 he was artist in residence in San Roque de Cumbaza in Peru. In June Sol’s monumental sculptures ‘Forms Shaped Through Time’ will be installed at Holborn Circus as part of his Colombian research project ‘From Myth To Earth’.
Joe Farley works as a composer and sound designer, and is currently involved in audiovisual projects across a variety of platforms including documentary, fashion film, interface design, performance and sound installation. While studying Sound Art at the London College of Communication, he co-curated the Other Space with photography collective Holy Ghost, overseeing a bi-monthly programme of exhibitions and events featuring artists from around the UK and beyond. During this time, his piece ‘A Still Life (or Death) of Radio’ won the student award at the ‘Gone With The Wind – Open Resonance’ exhibition at Raven Row Gallery.
Tom Hatton is currently studying an MA in Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art. Central to his photographic approach is the relationship of the image to modes of storytelling, yet these narratives are often fragmented and buried deeply within and between his images. Previous work has explored projected pasts and extrapolated futures – alongside an investigation of time, also an interest in history, geography, science, myth, poetry, philosophy and psychology. Hatton graduated with a 1st BA Hons in Fine Art Photography at The Glasgow School of Art in 2011 and was nominated for the Royal Scottish Academy’s ‘New Contemporaries’ exhibition. His work has been exhibited at Fold Gallery, Photofusion, Pall Mall Galleries, Dover Street Gallery, 53 Degrees North, Profile Gallery and The Royal Scottish Academy. In 2008 Tom was a finalist for the Fujifilm Distinctions Award, in 2011 he was awarded the Roger Ackling Prize and in 2012 he was the winner of Environmental Category for the Renaissance Photography Prize.