Ruth Barker

Industrial Aesthetics

Hunter College Time Square Gallery, New York
Woodwose New York Woodwose New York Woodwose New York

Woodwose New York
Salvaged industrial rubber and carved wood, with concealed fixings.


Photography by Yao Zu Lu, courtesy of the artist and Hunter College.


Press Release:


Industrial Aesthetics: Environmental Influences on Recent Art from Scotland

Hunter College / Times Square Gallery
September 28 - November 12, 2011
Opening reception: Tuesday, September 27 , 6 - 8pm
Gallery hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 1 - 6pm

Laura Aldridge / Ruth Barker / Neil Clements / Martin Creed / Rory Donaldson / Alex Frost
Carla Scott Fullerton / Douglas Gordon / Jessica Harrison / Ilana Halperin / Iain Hetherington
Jim Lambie / Duncan Marquiss / James McLardy / Andrew Miller / Dan Miller / Craig Mulholland
Alex Pollard / Kate V. Robertson / Gary Rough / John Shankie / Sandy Smith / Ric Warren

With Glasgow at its heart, Scotland has, over the past twenty-five years, developed into one of the world’s most influential and imaginative centers of artistic production. New generations of artists continue to emerge from this unique city’s cultural rebirth, and the country’s shift from artistic periphery to creative nexus.

This exhibition brings together the work of an extraordinary group of artists from Scotland and contextualizes their various aesthetic and conceptual concerns within the wider social and civic legacies of their environment.

While each artist has a purely individual approach, as a group they display the threads of a spiritual kinship, an elemental sensibility that invokes aspects of Glasgow’s manufacturing and municipal history, as well as its cultural and fiscal renaissance.
The work evinces a considered, material restraint coupled with a profound intellectual commitment. These common characteristics are deepened by a workmanlike intensity to the craft of art-making that lends gravitas and substance to the process as much as to the finished work, resulting in often exquisite and evocative realizations of urban or human experience.

One of the largest exhibitions of contemporary art from Scotland ever seen in the United States, Industrial Aesthetics: Environmental Influences on Recent Art from Scotland presents a collection of works forged from a unique set of circumstances. The participating artists are the originators and caretakers of a dynamic and inventive art scene that echoes ideals of social organization and communal action—hallmarks of Glasgow’s political and commercial history.

Glasgow’s industrial base was once the reason for its status as the “Workshop of the Empire.” While today the empire is long gone, the workshop remains. These artists are creative heirs to the city’s specific cultural and economic developments, and to Scotland’s alternately illustrious, resilient, and ongoing evolution.

Industrial Aesthetics: Environmental Influences on Recent Art from Scotland is curated by Darren Jones (Hunter College MFA ’09) and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue that includes a foreword by Dr. Joachim Pissarro, Bershad Professor of Art History and Director of the Hunter College Art Galleries, critical essays by David Harding and Darren Jones, and an interview with Sam Ainsley. This exhibition is made possible with the support of the Hunter College Art Galleries Fund in collaboration with YoungArts, the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Additional Funding provided by the Ruth Stanton Foundation, Madina Stepanchenko/Phenomena Project, The Foundation To-Life and an anonymous donor.


Extract from publication:


"[...] The eloquance of Ruth Barker's funereal sculpture Woodwose New York, 2011 (p 21) also touches on the tensions between loss and hope; the material itself espouses this notion, as Barker has shorn reams of leaves from rubber, transforming the material from its heavy duty origins for a new aesthetic purpose - the conveyance of emotion. This is a different kind of urban regeneration."

From the essay ART SHIPPERS: Glasgow's Legacy and the Visual Vernacular by Darren Jones, appearing in the exhibition catalogue: Industrial Aesthetics: Environmental Influences on Recent Art from Scotland