Originally presented in the 2022 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Welsh photographic artist Gawain Barnard’s dream-like series ‘Sometimes The Sky’s Too Bright’ plays with the subconscious and the sublime.
Based around the concept of transition, these artworks present a moment of reflection on the world around us, our own selves and the cogs of the ever-changing system that we exist in. A visual metaphor in which people can ‘be on the edge looking in’, understanding that change is about to happen and embracing something bigger than ourselves.
The result? A stunning selection of images, that are so soft on the eyes that you’ll find yourself in a daze. Gawain continues to expertly portray a seraphic stillness throughout his works, focused particularly on a simultaneous moment of calmness, and a feeling of growing anticipation. We spoke with him about these transitional moments and the poetic sensibilities that live in his artworks.
“At the beginning the process was subconscious, I was chasing an aesthetic that i didn’t fully grasp until I came to understand that on the edge of great change, a process starts to occur that is visually and emotionally volatile and quite literally a calm before a storm”
GB: Yes, for some reason I’ve always been drawn to ‘notions of place’ and ‘home’ as basis of exploration for my work and these transitional pieces are an extension of this. In general, and I speak broadly, the Welsh have a clear idea of their own identity and I find this intriguing as our population is continually evolving and moving with each generation. I think I feel acutely aware of my own role in this transitional process, the evolution of communities, while others seem totally oblivious, they express a permanence which I guess I don’t understand.
I think anything that can make us stop, consider and help form our own ideas could be the ultimate purpose of art. For me, personally, and this is not intentional, but since I’ve started showing my work, without any provocation people have been getting in touch and telling me what it makes them feel and means to them. It’s always personal and an individual interpretation of a piece I’ve created and I’m totally blown away by the fact that I’ve created something that someone want to live with for a period of their life.