7 July 2021 – 25 July 2021 G.3 Barry Clarris ‘Marginalia’

Form Barry Clarris these pictures as a group do not fit snugly into any particular classification, perhaps they are best designated as  ‘Surrealist’, in the sense that they do not conform to the realities of the world as we know it from our daily experience of living. Surrealism is a broad field, which, for many, has connotations of the nightmare, as in  the highly disturbing images conjured up by  the minds of such  luminary geniuses as Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, James Gleeson and Hieronymus Bosch. The worlds of these horrific dreams might be grotesquely distorted, but are ‘normal’ to the extent that the settings are three dimensional, depth is signified by perspective and incident light tends to cast shadow. Leaving aside the inevitable exceptions,  the figures in these pictures have no depth and occupy a two-dimensional world in which shadows are rare or non-existent. If there is anything nightmarish about the pictures, it is unintentional, and indeed, the intent throughout the series is, rather,  to amuse.

In past series along roughly similar lines there has been an evolution of a complex  marginal, grid-like organisation, as integral to the overall composition as are   the central figures. Elements of this pattern of bars and shapes sometimes intrude  into the picture far enough to suggest confinement, even entrapment. The question thus arises: are  these interlocking bars  a metaphor for the constraints of life? There is no  doubt that  whatever freedoms we all enjoy our liberty is always qualified by inevitabilities,  the law, financial resources, social mores and so forth. One would not refute that interpretation, but would contend that the design element  is of equal, or greater importance. The artist found  the design of these grids to be interesting and the pictorial outcome satisfying, without any need to plead a psychological aetiology.

Opening Event: Wednesday 7 July, 6pm – 8pm