Kelly Barrie: Mirror House

Project Room 1 Sep 10–Dec 10, 2011

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Kelly Barrie, Mirror House, 2010 (detail)
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Kelly Barrie: Mirror House
Sep 10–Dec 10, 2011





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Kelly Barrie, Mirror House, 2010
Kelly Barrie, Mirror House, 2010, Digital C-print, 94 x 124 in. framed
Mirror House, 2011, Installation view

Kelly Barrie: Mirror House is a new, large-format photographic work created especially for Project Room 1 at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Including drawing, dance, performance, and digital collage, Barrie’s work investigates the relationship between historical memory and aesthetic practice–in this case, using Hurricane Katrina as the backdrop.

Barrie uses images of the effects of traumatic events as his artistic source material. Mirror House began with a found photograph of a flooded house and tree from New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. The ghost image of the scene evokes a dreamscape rather than a pictorial representation of a calamity. The end result is a poignant, Surrealist-like mural that transforms a real-life disaster into a disorienting but beautiful reverie.

Barrie’s multi-dimensional process combines many artistic genres. He “performs” his response to found photographs on his studio floor by literally drawing the image with his feet, dragging photo-luminescent pigment on black paper with toe drags, heel spins, snake walks, and foot sweeps. He then photographs his “drawing” with a 35 mm camera utilizing natural daylight stored in the light-sensitive powder. The powder’s light is released by using the vertical blinds in the studio as a type of aperture. More than seventy photographs were taken with a grid system to document the drawing. Barrie then digitally stitched these photographs together to construct the finished work–which is both haunting and painterly.

This exhibition has been supported by David Knaus. Special thanks to Michael Maloney.