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Ciara Barker will participate in the Galway International Arts Festival with a new immersive and site-specific installation for a 2-person exhibition with Diana Copperwhite. Reforming opens at 126 Artist-Run Gallery on Sunday 14 July and runs until 28 July 2019.

Ciara Barker is a multidisciplinary artist based in Limerick City. Barker is interested in assembling irrational spaces that disengage from stable attachment through movement and distortion. She uses light and light-interactive materials to explore both personal and social experiences of the body. Barker manipulates sensory perception, in order to encourage the viewer to examine the strange within the familiar and to focus on bodily experience outside of a preconceived self-image. Her hope is to make a space to communicate with the body in order to promote self-awareness and rebellious acceptance. 

In Reforming, Ciara Barker’s installation is full of divides, which may attempt to categorise and order our view of the world. These simultaneously serve as in-betweens, which negotiate a dialectical opposition in order to generate new perspectives. Paradoxically, these divisions are all gentle, responsive to the body and either visually or physically penetrable. The viewer’s body quickly develops a relationship with the work, as a result of constant tension between restricting and responding.

The video element of this installation is made up of downloaded, royalty free clips. Each clip contains commercial, idealised and oversimplified depictions of gender typical and able-bodied bodies, with no personal complexity. Each clip is introduced by the reductive title given to it online and may be viewed as humours or absurd. In order to watch the video in its original state, the viewer must lie passively on a hard wooden pallet, which has been painted gold. Vibrant colours and reflective and transparent materials distort the space and the bodies and images within it. Opening up its complexities and contradictions, allowing the viewer to interact with it in an intuitive way, developing their own personal experience.

Ciara Barker has been Artist-in-Residence at Ormston House since 2019. Photo: Entrance to Comfort (2019) at The Commercial in Limerick, courtesy of the artist.

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