GATESHEAD.- BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
presents a site-specific collaborative commission by artist Sara Barker and Ryder Architecture. Barker and Ryder worked together to produce an ambitious new sculptural work for BALTICs remodelled Level 2 gallery, which explores and responds to the volume and architecture of the space.
Barker (born Manchester, 1980) lives and works in Glasgow. Her pared down linear sculptures vary in scale from delicate wall reliefs to larger standing structures. Working with a combination of painting, welding and jewellery making techniques, Barker draws out unexpected properties from a range of industrial materials including metal, cement, glass, ceramic, paint and wood, with a sculptural fluidity and lightness.
Barkers process is one of reduction and economy; she paints on large expanses of aluminium and steel with gouache, watercolour and oils, then cuts away at the material. Thin strips of metal are angled and curved into sinuous forms which intersect and loop. Barker is interested in the looseness and gesture of painting and drawing and her works retain an expressive, painterly quality as patches of canvas and filling compound add richness and texture. Often, her works respond to a particular space or context, their titles making reference to Modernist art history and literature.
Ryder Architecture is a leading architectural practice based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Liverpool, Glasgow and London. Founded in 1953 as Ryder and Yates, and now known simply as Ryder, the practices early achievements were rooted in the European Modernism of Le Corbusier and Berthold Lubetkin and dominated the development of modern architecture in the North East of England. Commercial success came in the 1960s with major buildings in North Tyneside, notably the Northern Gas headquarters, Norgas House and the British Gas Engineering Research Station which housed their national research laboratories. Both were groundbreaking and multi award-winning projects.
Ryder has an integrated approach, designing buildings which elegantly fuse form with function. The practice has had a long involvement with the visual arts, collaborating with a number of artists on its buildings and interiors. Ryders reputation for designing increasingly sophisticated structures has led to a series of commissions in industry, education, healthcare, office design and the broadcasting sector.