Once upon a spacetime: Catherine Barron

6 - 24 December 2018

Catherine Barron's latest body of work draws on her research and theorising on the nature of creativity, brought about by a period in which she couldn't paint because of a shoulder injury, itself brought about by an intense period of art-making, reflecting on her life and her relationships. The creative paradigm she has devised departs from a linear notion of creativity - of novelty for novelty's sake  - and instead explores what Cézanne called 'a realisation of the senses'.

She has drawn up her own schemata, where creativity is mapped by the interactions of making, awareness and playfulness, in an attempt to resolve the divergent approaches of scientists and artists to the notion of creativity, which until now she feels has been akin to 'mixing oil and water'. She makes an analogy with life and, more importantly, consciousness arising from matter, both processes that science struggles to explain. She does so not with a view to invoking any kind of divine creation but rather to show that a strictly scientific approach to codifying the process of human creativity may not be sufficient.

Writing about the work, Barron says she 'came across the concept of the finite unbound in a book about the universe written by physicists. Explained as akin to an ant walking on an orange. It can keep on walking for all of its life, on and on, and never reach an end. That's how I came to view the mind, finite and boundless at the same time. Finite because it is mine. I am trapped in it and it in me. I am finite as matter in spacetime. Unbound because it has no discernible edges. It is not measurable, yet needs the measurable thing to co-exist. 

To describe this visually, I make pools of blue ink on polyester sheets. Blue because it is like the sea, a liquid uncontained, yet held together in a great body by the gravity of the finite mass. The ink sits on the impermeable polyester until the water evaporates, leaving the pooled pigment to testify uncorrupted as to the nature of its existence as liquid. The pools are not linear, they are not a space or a place. I am in them and they are in me. They contain things identifiable and also blind spots; darkness and light. They are both polluted and clear. They are contained. They exist in fragments, yet are of one body. I am wondering around in them, unbound, yet going nowhere - except through that hole in spacetime through which we all travel'.

Born in Co. Carlow, Catherine Barron studied at the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Her work can be found in many private and public collections including: the OPW, Bank of Ireland, Glanbia, St. James Hospital, Carlow Institute of Technology, The EPA, John De Vere, Haverty Trust and the Department of Education.