Image of artwork by Lynne Barker
The Civic Trees
The Civic Trees
The Civic Tree

Lynne Barker has explored and recorded the life of the pigeons that flocked around an urban arts centre and the trees planted in the adjacent green space, during her residency at The Civic, Barnsley.

“With all good intent, urban trees are planted to enhance our wellbeing. They lift our spirits, provide shade and shelter and a sense of place. They clean our air and contribute to flood prevention and biodiversity. The cost of their loss and replacement is not insignificant. Despite this, there is sometimes little or no motivation, or funding for their longterm care and so they are abandoned to their fate, once planted. Unmaintained and in some cases vandalised, they become symbols of melancholy, indicative of the gap between vision and reality. Can our interests in the uncared for be rekindled?”

Through close observation and recording Barker suggests that these trees become symbols of optimism and endurance, despite their struggles.

Inspired by objects found through chance encounters, Lynne Barker’s work highlights gaps and slippages in prevailing histories, an intersection between contemporary archaeology and art. Using information collection methods including close observation, mapping, and photography she gathers and archives data and artefacts to create archives which challenge accepted views of the overlooked, uncared for, or forgotten. Different trajectories of research are triggered by the varied subjects examined and the form of the work takes on the most appropriate media in response to the ideas being researched including drawing, sculpture and artists’ books. Most recently materials have included: porcelain, embroidery and textiles, bronze casting and digital drawing. Red predominates in the work, as a symbol of multiplicity and contradictory perspectives. The variety of methods highlights the complexity and entanglement of past and present, facts and fiction to explore themes of mortality, identity and memory. Her current project Crossing explores the little-known journey of transmigrants from mainland Europe to New York, via Grimsby to Liverpool, passing through the small Pennine Town of Penistone.

Lynne Barker gave up a successful career as a town planning consultant to follow her lifelong ambition of becoming an artist. Recent exhibitions include Post, Sheffield Hallam University, Platform 17 and 18, Millennium Galleries, Sheffield, Colourfield Colour Wheels and VS David Bowie, Civic Barnsley, A Hokusai Adventure, Dean Clough, Halifax and Minus One solo exhibition at Caux Palace, Switzerland. Her work is the collections of Sheffield Hallam University and the PAGES Artists’ Books Collection.