Nearly five decades after emerging as a Pop Artist, Clive Barker continues to make sculptures characterised by themes and techniques drawn from popular mass culture. However, an exhibition of recent works revisits his 1960s iconography whilst also introducing a radical new subject matter, placing the artist at the crossroads of West and East, the past and the present, the brazen energy of his youth and the introspection of older age. This is Barker's most personal show yet.
Barker's love for Pop culture and America, where many of his much-loved memories took shape, has not changed. Having visited New York for the first time in 1966, Barker undertook a three month long trip visiting twenty-two American states in 1971. At the time, Barker was a celebrated young artist without a care in the world. The relaxed, hands-on attitude to life of his American collectors hit an immediate chord within Barker, who embraced America wholeheartedly. The ease with which great collectors such as Joe Hirshhorn took Barker under their wings and the expanse of the country were an immediate attraction for the young artist.
Whereas Barker's love for America has not waned, the artist now often travels to Turkey, his interest mirroring the attention which Eastern cultures have been given in the media since the tragic events of 9/11. Barker's fascination with the country's culture and history is now also reflected on his choice of subject for his work and allude to the ever-growing cultural influence of the East.
The unabashed good looking young man, now a mature man is reflecting on life, time, things past and things future. This is Clive Barker standing at the crossroads, looking at past travels, present travels, the future and the fragility of life, experienced at an elder age.
An Jo Fermon