Rob Barber's art reminds me of Creation, creation of man and, of course, women. I mean by that Mr. Barber creates visions in his work that show man coping with the perils and the pleasures of life. The creation in which man is placed is ominous and indeed sinister. His work suggests that man is somewhat oblivious of his predicament as he struggles to maintain some sort of stability in the chaos around him. Yet man proceeds to live the life he is given, moving through the perils of creation without understanding the meaning of their presence.
Jn Mr. Barber's work entitled Straattoneel/Streetscene, 2008, a man stands in a fog laced street scene playing a trumpet as a boy and a girl play with a dog in the background. The scene is surreal and somewhat antithetical to what might be considered a pleasant afternoon in the park. The scene suggests a certain choas in the nature that engulfs the man and the children. Birds that seem almost predatory swoop in toward the trio as if to warn them of some inpending doom. The birds are seemingly unnoticed as the man continues with his music and the children continue with their play. While their environment may be hostile, the trio cope with the dissension that surrounds them as if it were not there.
The portrait suggests that the presence of danger is only perceived by the admirer of the images. The trio are unaware of the imminent danger. They simply continue. We on the outside can only dispair of their innocence and their fate.
In Wintervuur/Winterfire 2009, Mr. Barber continues with his theme of man coping with the chaos of his environment.. A larger than life man sits unclothed in a snowstorm. The man points toward space but his gesture directs the viewer toward the man's awkward physical appearance. While he sits by a small fire, his distance from the flames seems strange as he is too far to benefit from the fire's comfort, He focuses instead upon something in the distance and we are left to imagine his thoughts.
The man pushing the wheelbarrow through the snow provides a oblique but opposite comparison to the angry man in the foreground. The man also struggles against the trials of a harsh environment perhaps at the direction of the rather brutish man in the foreground.
To say I understand the context of Wintervuur/Winterfire would not be accurate. I do not. What I do see is a primitive man juxtaposed with a contemporary man, both struggling against a harsh environement. Mr. Barber has again suggested that man and woman lives within a choatic universe with which they must content and survive. Interestingly, Mr. Barber's characters willingly accept their fate and move through the perils of a chaotic universe with grace.
Among the many gems in the Rob Barber collection, I find Zeemist/Seafog, 2008, the most intriguing. Here Mr. Barber presents man and woman's true physical and spritual nature revealed in the setting of a chaotic jungle like environment. The man and the woman are real, not idealized. They find their pleasure in each other even as the wild monkeys swing about them. They are not distracted by the formidable world in which these Adam and Eve figures find themselves. Instead their attention to each other brings order to their sinister and frightening New World. They are within themselves a universe of their own making.
Rob Barber is a talented artist who brings meaning to his vision of reality. He assigns meaning to the world through his images. I consider Rob Barber to be one of the most talented artists in Second Life.
.Mr. Barber's work can be seen through August in Le Nouveau Palais de Roissy.
by Elizabeth Weinberg