Mark Barrow Synaesthesia

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May 12 – June 23, 2012

ZERO -  via Tadino 20, Milan

For his first solo presentation at the gallery Barrow offers a group of work that continues his collaboration with Sarah Parke in which she designs  hand-woven  fabrics for his paintings.  Tracing  the sequence  of colored threads in her fabric, Barrow maps the entire surface with dots of paint wherever weft crosses warp.  He culls colors from the fabric to create his compositions, leaving some threads unpainted to show through the surface and optically mix with the painted dots. While these compositions are largely intuitive, they  are,  nonetheless,  inextricable  from  the  fabric  beneath.  Barrow’s  hand  moves  with  the  unevenly stretched ground, the constellation  of marks an indication  of both the fabric’s swaying structure and its numeric logic.

In a traditional textile a series of repeating numbers, corresponding  to the shafts and pedals of a loom, serves as the template for creating a pattern. Typically when woven in two colors (a dark one and a light one) the pattern is clearly visible. In the fabrics for Synaesthesia, Parke assigns a different color thread to each number, masking the patterns in a matrix of vibrant hues. The colors in each fabric then are less in service of a pattern and more a denotation of space and time. This idea is furthered when Parke uses sequences of random numbers to create fabrics that have no pattern at all.The paintings  are ultimately  titled with three letters corresponding  to the thread colors Barrow  uses to start his compositions, each thread having been assigned a random letter before the fabrics were made.

In a way, Barrow’s work is existential, less in the philosophical sense and more in the way that perception is  linked  to  our  conceptual  system.  As  the  linguists  Lakoff  and  Johnson’s  research  suggests,  our interaction with the physical world (perception) is the foundation for how we understand any concept. Synaesthesia marks  Barrow’s  interest  in this perceptual/conceptual  framework.  His paintings  embrace ideas long associated with abstraction and filter them through an almost scientific, empirical methodology. Working on a seemingly molecular level Barrow builds new pathways across different sensory, cognitive and ideological systems, subtly shifting the viewer’s experience.

Barrow  takes  the  show’s  title,  Synaesthesia  from  a  neurological  condition  with  which  an  individual involuntarily  conflates  multiple  cognitive  or sensory  experiences  from one stimulus.  For example,  in a common  form  of  synaesthesia,  grapheme  to  color  synaesthesia,  an  individual  perceives  letters  or numbers  as colored.  As such, the condition  proves  an apt metaphor  for Barrow  and Parke’s  process. Each  painting,  a  densely  layered  abstraction  with  an  underlying  logic,  moves  across  mediums:  from numbers to textile to paint to letters.

Mark Barrow was born in Florida in 1982. He lives and works in New Yor

Image above: Mark Barrow, Istallation view, 2012

installation-view

Mark Barrow

Istallation view, 2012

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Mark Barrow

Istallation view, 2012

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Mark Barrow

Istallation view, 2012

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Mark Barrow

Istallation view, 2012

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Mark Barrow

Istallation view, 2012