Parallel Play, Kelly Barrie’s first solo exhibition at Gallery Wendi Norris, is inspired by ephemeral free play sites. Originating in Europe in the 1940s, they gained popularity with the social movements of the 1970s, and became catalysts for children’s rights as well as contestations over public space. Since then, non-authoritarian play spaces have largely disappeared. The installation includes work that draws on the Junkyard playgrounds of Barrie’s childhood in London, as well as new work based on archetypal structures from the last remaining adventure playground in the US, which is located in Berkeley, California.
In the center of the gallery, “Weed Table,” displays the artist’s studies of “unwanted plants” and detritus. Balanced on trestles and viewed from above, the work suggests that what is expendable in a regulated environment takes on redemptive significance in the free play zone. The installation itself resembles a playground, where viewers maneuver around the objects much like a child at play. “Double Cross Toe Rope” hangs as a diptych from the top of the wall, allowing the two naked prints to be unrolled like rope ladders until they touch the ground, curling upwards. “Double shelter” uses two framed photographs of a makeshift hut to form a second, three dimensional enclosure. “Plank Ladder” leans against the wall, inviting viewers to trace the surface details of the photograph while negotiating their physical proximity to the work.
Performativity is central to Barrie’s working process. Not only in these works, but also in previous projects, which recreate forgotten historical events, he gives a material presence to the act of remembering by literally walking it out of his head. Using his feet and old darkroom utensils, Barrie moves white photo-luminescent pigment powder across black seamless paper on his studio floor. The light sensitive powder drawing is then documented in small sections using a 35mm camera, digitally collaged back together and outputted to scale as a photographic print.
About the Artist
Kelly Barrie (b.1973, London, England) received an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, New Hall, California and completed the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. In spring of 2010 his works were featured in A Word Like Tomorrow Wears Things Out, at Sikkema Jenkins & Co, NY and reviewed in the March edition of The New Yorker. In winter 2010 Barrie completed a solo exhibition at LAXART entitled Negative Capability, which was reviewed by Sharon Mizota in the Los Angeles Times. Catherine Taft also heralded this exhibition in Saatchi Online magazine as one of the top 10 shows in Los Angeles. Barrie completed his first solo Museum project, Mirror House, in the fall of 2011 for the Santa Monica Museum of Art, which was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times by Leah Ollman as well as featured in the September edition of Art Practical, Berkeley, CA. In 2011 Mirror House was acquired by the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY, and included in their new acquisitions exhibition Surveyor curated by Heather Pesanti. Barrie’s photo-drawings have also been included in the 2008 California Biennial; as well as exhibited internationally in Arte Portugal 2010 and the 2008 Biennale of Sydney Revolutions – Forms That Turn.
About the Gallery
Gallery Wendi Norris presents a compelling contemporary and modern program with a strong emphasis on the global market. Since 2003, we have worked with over one hundred of the top museums around the world, placing works in their collections and collaborating on solo and group exhibitions. Though, by design, the range of works we show is diverse, a common thread runs through them all: a focus on the human ability to create psychological and spiritual meaning through form and content. Both the artworks and the artists themselves are emblematic of this aesthetic ambition and our trans-cultural nature. Through our expertise in the modern art world, with an unparalleled network in Surrealism, and through our considered selection of some of today’s most dynamic artists, we support a range of private clients, museums, and not-for-profit art organizations.