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Self Portrait

Updated: Aug 4


Barry's performative films bend time and perceived reality in a laboured process of stop-motion animation that she employs to create them. In the performative film and installation.


In her work "SELF PORTRAIT" she constructs several detailed scenarios of restrained protagonists housed in scaled scenes of domestic confinement, using the materials she had to hand during isolation: Cotton wool, Cardboard, Paint, Plasticine, as Barry herself says, ”The Materials of motherhood, the materials I used to distract my children during the pandemic".

Barry is a modern day Trickster, to quote Lewis Hyde:

"BETTER TO OPERATE WITH DETACHMENT, THEN; BETTER TO HAVE A WAY BUT INFUSE IT WITH A LITTLE HUMOUR; BEST ,TO HAV E NO WAY AT ALL BUT TO HAVE INSTEAD THE WIT CONSTANTLY TO MAKE ONE'S WAY ANEW FROM THE MATERIALS AT HAND”.


Her moving image Self Portrait is a Frankenstein assemblage, composed of looping moving image vignettes: Hands, eyes, mouths, ears, feet. The films are peppered with humour, horror and the bizarre. This is a portrait in constructed in a flat video wall which will debut like so many of these new works for this touring show. The considered assembly of this work is based on Barry's observations off the lived experience of ZOOM architecture which she daily had to negotiate during lockdown.


It is here that Barry also uses the film technique titled the Dutch Tilt. The Dutch Tilt is also known as ;the German Angle, canted angle, canted camera or oblique angle. It is a particular way of creating a shot so the horizon line is not parallel to the bottom of the frame and all vertical lines are "tilted" or at an angle leaning to one side of the frame. It is a popular technique when wanting to create a sense of unease, anxiety, tension or feelings of disorientation.


It has been used in hundreds of films including classics like “The Bride of Frankenstein” (directed by James Whales), “Citizen Kane” (Orson Welles), “The Third Man” (Carol Reed) and “Maltese Falcon” (John Huston).


We can see the reasoning behind Barrys' utilisation of this technique in her work Self Portrait. As for most, the feeling of confinement over the last number of years has created a great sense of unease across the world. An unknowingness and confusion of when or if it will end. The viewer can identify with Barry's influence by the ZOOM architecture that became part of so many day to day lives.


Watch below and listen to Barrys' thoughts behind making this work while still in lockdown.