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Representing Contemplation, Portraying Negative Space: Sculptures by Sukhi Barber
The sculptures of British artist Sukhi Barber frequently display figures in meditative postures, with parts of their physical structures erased, rendered totally blank. The emptied portions appear in the form of holes, layers, slices, blocks and lines within a metallic frame. These cancellations do not make the bodies weak or hollow, rather they illuminate the intangible component of the human being—that may be equally powerful as the concrete, visible element.
The artist writes in her statement that her work represents “the negative space as being as important as the material itself, implying the dance of form and spirit, a constant state of transformation.”
Born in 1971 in Hertfordshire, England, Sukhi Barber was drawn to the classical and ancient traditions of art and philosophy from an early age. She undertook a traditional sculptural training at The City and Guilds of London Art School, graduating in 1995 with the prize for sculpture, and a scholarship from Madame Tussauds.
After graduation, Sukhi traveled to India, captivated by the timeless quality of peace and balance that she found in the art of Asia. Settling in Kathmandu, Nepal, she spent the next twelve years studying Buddhist philosophy and producing sculptures based on the traditional techniques of stone carving and lost-wax bronze casting.
Embodying the peace and compositional balance of ancient devotional art, Sukhi’s sculptures express complex philosophical ideas with a simplicity and clarity that makes them accessible on an intuitive level. Both ancient and modern in style, they are meant to transcend ethnic and cultural separations, bridge the East and the West.
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