Hayley Barker (b.1973) is a Los Angeles based painter whose nuanced landscape and nature paintings strike a seemingly impossible harmony between intimacy and grandeur. Her subjects are sometimes explicitly rendered from life – the tree from her bedroom window, the view across her lovingly tended yard, or the plants on her windowsill – and yet they seem to come from an interior place, balancing real and imaginary worlds in works that suggest as much a dreamscape as a landscape.
Technically, they present a contradiction, seemingly dense, almost claustrophobic, in the way they are worked and yet full of space, colour and light. Dryly painted with fine brushes, often on raw linen allowed to show through, they seem intensely personal and yet invitingly universal. As critic Barry Schwabsky has noted in a recent review of her work in Artforum:
Barker’s paintings elaborate spaces that can’t be nailed down and identified. She calls them “spaces of passage,” of transition—across the immeasurable distance from life to death, perhaps, but also within life, from one physical or spiritual state to another. Her works speak of mystery, loss: intimations of what lies beyond the boundaries of the self.
They are paintings which explore and express an emotional or mental state, sometimes originating in a specific place or object but always harnessing intuition rather than intellect, discovery rather than design and faith rather than logic. They have an energy that recalls the visionary interiority of nineteenth century symbolists Redon and Moreau but with a sensibility that feels more akin to the work of Bonnard and Vuillard.
We look forward to hosting her first exhibition in Europe in the spring of 2024.