Guest post by Abby Sin
At times language cannot adequately express the intricacies of our thoughts and desires. Artist Renae Barnard explore the poetics of materiality through handmade objects and ephemeral installations. Working with a range of fabrics and reclaimed materials such as blankets, jute and hemp rope, medical bed paper, rags, ribbon and lace scrap, Barnard’s compositions make a connection between materiality, perception, and time.
Indulging in the pleasure and tactility of making, these folded, twisted, and sewn objects are both destroyed by and reinforced with the repetitive gestures by which they are made. 'Many of my sculptures are worked within inches of collapse and reflect my attraction to the imperfect and the aged' says Barnard. The time consuming and ritualistic processes of braiding, weaving, stitching and hand-dying textiles highlights the delicacy and transience of the material. 'Why are attributes like softness and delicacy deemed “feminine”? And why are such qualities considered indicators of weakness?' These are just a few of the questions surrounding Barnard’s artwork.
Creating a material language to explore these nuanced precepts, Barnard combines her hand-made craft technique with elements of playful divergence and social commentary. 'I allow myself the sensitivity to make work that reveals both wounds and strengths, wrangling material out of an emotional response to feelings of tension. And so, my reason for making art is so that they might speak in my place, referencing issues that are uncomfortable and difficult to express in words.'