by Helen Barker
I have a new project on the go! It hasn’t yet made it to my ‘personal practice’ page because it is only in the early stages of development. Since having my baby daughter in July 2017 my mind has been simultaneously full and muddled with ideas, images and feelings. I have finally started to emerge from the hazy days of serious sleep deprivation to find a project coming together in my thoughts. Mini Mountains. First of all I love the idea of squeezing something as vast and wholly incomprehensible as a mountain into an inappropriately small space.* A place squeezed into a small space. Secondly mountains have been a strange obsession of mine ever since my geography teacher asked me to complete a project on Mount St. Helen’s in secondary school (a mountain with my name really appealed to me as an objective already achieved at such a young age). These mountains I love are often not really mountains at all but volcanoes or ticking time bombs waiting to shift the earth’s face. Freezing them into tiny windows, making them brief gestures of a passing whim is possibly one way to scale down their terrifying potential.
I could ramble on all day about them. But this is where I am starting – with small paintings of huge mountains. Here’s the first one. I think I’ll name the next one, as if to catalogue them.
*Is this in some way linked to the birth of my daughter…as I write about squeezing mountains into small spaces I wonder if the experience of birth has somehow infiltrated my thought processes more than I realised.