Ken Barnes’ New Work at Shift Gallery is a search for beauty and wisdom expressed through stone carving. His continuing story unfolds year after year, each piece a “new letter in the text.” As he says in his statement, “these stones made the search a true joy, expressing forms of largely biomorphic origin. For me stone is a living material, frozen for the moment but moving through a progression of degradation and reformation over a geologic timeframe.”
Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and others have trodden this path well before him, and he is perhaps influenced by their example. Conceivably all sculptors using natural materials are inspired by the natural environment, hence their choice of materials? For Barnes, the link is crucial, and his ability to retain an authentic, organic feel while also clearly shaping the stone to his liking is his trademark. His sculptures never cross the line into the un-natural or over-worked. They tend to remind the viewer of other natural forms, be it a whale’s flipper, a gentle hillside, or the body abstracted. His practice marches on, much like the time needed to form the stones he carves, and his search for beauty grows ever more strengthened.