Ruth Barker

Leather and Separation.


Thoughts on After The Field.


Text written in response to 'After The Field' by Claire Barclay, an exhibition at Washington Garcia. Text Commissioned by Washington Garcia.

Step 1. Hide.

Step 2. Make something plainer, stronger. So that it lifts up, opens, blows away.

Step 3. Hide.

Step 4. Remove all ornament.

The work of Claire Barclay is a taut conversation. Material is stretched, becoming everything it can ever be, and nothing other than itself. Barclay’s work defines clear parameters of reference and guards them sharply, letting in nothing but the suggestion of displacement, echo, and function.

Barclay’s work is redolent with thinking; the kind of thinking that comes especially from the hands as well as the head. Her work is often written about in terms of craft, but these objects ask the most essential questions of how we read the commingling of signs, and the relative presence of the objects we share spaces with.

To grapple with the work in After the Field is to enter into the expanding vocabulary of form and substance that Barclay continues to develop. Elusive, astute, and unembellished, her work occupies a tension as much psychological as it is formal and conceptual.