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Artist to share inner thoughts

Thursday, 25th October, 2018

Local artist Clark Barrett, alongside his ‘As You Draw Closer the Distances Seem Greater’ Piece. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Local artist Clark Barrett, alongside his ‘As You Draw Closer the Distances Seem Greater’ Piece. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Callum Marshall

Local artist Clark Barrett will be giving an artist’s talk about his current exhibition at the Regional Art Gallery, ‘Unwinding Road’, on Saturday.

As well as discussing the major themes behind the exhibition, Clark will explore the underlying philosophies guiding his art and how his practice has developed over the years.

“I have about a half dozen themes that I’m going to approach,” he said.

“The first one is actually about my practice, which comprises two sides.

“One of which is the on-the-spot paintings I’ve done in the outback which allows you to see the roll of the landscape and a lot more colours, and the other which is about what I’ve got in my shed.

“So the latter one is about trying to tell stories that have forty years’ worth of history, as well as using a bit of humour to say what it feels like out there.

“I’ll (also) be setting up my kit, which is a folding table and cafe umbrella, in the Gallery.”

Another important theme Clark will explore is the role his sketchbooks have played throughout his artistic development.

“I (also) look at the role sketch books played when I first came to Broken Hill,” he said.

“I did polished works of art in my sketchbooks. They were a really huge, critically important part of my art practice.

“Even when I went out and worked on the spot, I’d be writing down in the early morning at eight AM because the sun was beautiful and then the next night I’d be somewhere else.”

Teacher, mentor and fellow artist Tom Offord has also served as an inspiration for Clark.

“My original head teacher Tom Offord gave me my first pastel case, and I started as a pastelist,” said Clark.

“But he was also leading this art lifestyle where he went out to the bush for a week and painted.

“The irony was he left after a year and I’ve now taken that baton and run with it.”

The value of getting out on the open road, escaping town and being free of stress was something Clark hoped people took away with them after visiting the exhibition and coming to the talk.

“My sense of meditation is actually driving on a dirt track,” he said. “After you’ve gotten half an hour out of town you actually almost forget everything. I can actually feel the stress evaporate.

“Everything is so immediate (today), where people can get a hold of you from work instantaneously. So it’s about letting go of all of that for a week.

“There’s been times when I’ve come back into town when world events have happened and known nothing about them.

“So I think the next big sea-change sort of movement you’ll see will be the ‘digital disconnect’ one.

“One where people who are just so stressed by that pounding information, that absolute tsunami that hits them every day, that they’ll just want to get away from.

“It doesn’t cost much either. You just need a vehicle, an esky with food and water and you head out and escape.”

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