Tom Barr is an artist whose photographic and sound works explore different experiences of landscape. His work seeks to disturb the self-centring effects of conventional landscape photography and test the constraints of photographic perspective. Ignoring compositional touchstones, removing distractions, and combining visual abstraction with a sense of place that’s always palpable and precise, Tom’s work connects viewers to landscapes in unexpected, provisional and non-perspective-centric ways.
The sea - always shifting, changing and ephemeral while remaining permanent, endless and eternal - has long inspired those who live and work beside it. Hermann Melville famously reflected upon “the times of dreamy quietude, when beholding the tranquil beauty and brilliancy of the ocean’s skin”. The source of Melville’s beauty and brilliancy is light itself, and it is the mutually transformative effects of light and water that Tom explores in this exhibition. In some light conditions, the sea can act as a giant mirror, while in others, it becomes a multitude of prisms and lenses. The sea reflects, bends and diffuses light, changing how we see it, and shaping our vision as it does so. Tom's work attempts to connect the viewer, with the luminous, shape-shifting seascapes of Argyll, enabling a rather different experience of the region.
Tom says of his work:
“Photography is a discipline that's often defined by "capturing", decisive moments, and photographic images are frequently regarded as frozen fragments of light in time. But in my work, I instead use light as a medium for immersive contemplation: a more painterly medium, perhaps, that extends the time-bound click of the shutter into a drawn-out moment of reflection. Through the use of long exposures, intentional camera movement and multiple exposure techniques, photography allows me to paint with whatever light is available, enabling a photographic moment to bend, shift, and expand itself through time. Painting with light in this way also means I'm able to create a sense of place that I find both evocative and deeply palpable, whether I'm working with the shifting wash of moonlight over the still waters of Loch Fyne, or pale winter light caught through crashing Atlantic waves. I hope you enjoy this series of images, and through them reflect, as I have often done, on Argyll's distinctive, familiar and endlessly inspiring Light by the Sea.”