In the Spotlight - Giles Barwick and his latest exhibition
I recently had a chat with Giles Barwick about his work and his new Exhibition ‘Evoke’
Giles is a Bristol (UK) based fine artist. He first studied Graphic Design, and following a short course at St Ives School of Art he applied to the University of West of England (UWE) to study Fine Art. It was here he was awarded the “Innes Wilken Art in Architecture” prize. Since gaining his BA, Giles has continued to develop his innovative techniques and shrewd use of colours within his work.
Painting and drawing have been integral to Giles’ life. Heavily influenced by the early 80s, Giles has long had an interest in comics and graphic novels and has been painting and doodling his entire life. As an artist, he currently produces 2D abstract work. His art is a means of self-expression and therapy, yet the resulting angst-ridden canvases are bright and lively in nature. The techniques are varied and now adopt an illustrative style in favour of the linear markings of his earlier works. The rough brush strokes, dribbles and smears are achieved with the use of acrylics, pens and spray cans.
Giles’ new exhibition opened on 5 September at The Square in Bristol and runs till March '18.
About his new exhibition Giles says: ‘The exhibition is called Evoke, It is about memories, feelings and passions and says a lot about me. The themes are around seasonal changes in nature, faces with an undercurrent of moods and emotions which run through my work.’
Changes in the season and moods are prevalent in his new abstract works. The subject for him is the striking colour in nature ‘Your can’t not go wow at a powerful sunset’. He powerfully links the seasonal colour changes with his own moods. ‘It is about the beginning and ends when colours change and my own moods of being up, hot and happy and cold blue and down.’
Giles is no fan of winter saying that that can be a time when he feels most tricky for him with Crones disease. ‘My disability can make me feel blue – painting takes me away from the ifs and buts and maybes.’
Painting for him is a form of meditation he says ‘It’s a focus that takes my mind away from what is happening. When I’m painting I’m not thinking.’ He talk s about a freedom and a looseness he finds when painting ‘For me it is a complementary therapy when I’m feeling poorly’.
Giles and his work are inextricably linked ‘Painting is me. If I don’t do painting it is like missing a limb.’
His work is ever evolving and changing he says ‘The focus of my work is doing something better. I look at other artists and I need to achieve something different. To me it seems like other people are doing the same. That’s how my work with faces came about as people were doing works around eyes but not with taking eyes out. These naturally evolved into the more abstract work I am doing now.’
A large number of his earlier pieces are abstract expressionistic portraiture of female faces. He says ‘It was looking female faces and concentrating on the key points the cheekbones, the eyes and the proportions that need to make it soft and gentle, to make it look pretty and not too harsh.‘ In making it different he started taking the eyes out of the equation ‘people view things through the eyes, – a book by it’s cover but if your blind you can’t judge a person by what you see, and there are many illnesses you can’t see’.
As someone with one of these invisible illnesses Giles is frustrated by the lack of awareness and publicity for his own disability Crones disease. ‘It need to be highlighted like Cancer and Aids etc there is not a lot of TV about it and not enough in the news. It is not curable and not talked about. It needs to be seen, promoted, nobody knows about it and yet lots of people have it.‘ The effects of Crones can be hard hitting, pain, exhaustion, dehydration, weight loss and collapse. This follows the tiredness, lack of interest in food. Giles says ‘different things help – activity, sleeping more, drinking more. But people who have it get on with it because they have to.’
Back to how his work has evolved he says ‘Abstract was already there and not as easy as people think, You have got to make sure it marries well – one colour can take out the whole image.’
When asked about influences on his work he answers ‘The classicals Turner, Monet also Kline and a couple of German painters as well as cubists and modern street artists.’
Fellow Bristol artist Jame Starr says of his work: ‘Giles has a great use of colour, he has a mixture of a Turnerish and Alberto Giacometti style’
Giles hopes this new exhibition will ‘get my work out there and start to make it in big wide world outside the UK.’
See Giles Barwick’s Evoke Exhibition at The SQUARE 15 Berkley Square, Clifton, Bristol, till March 2018.