Barry Roebuck



Happenstance and Hypervigilance

Tile Stories

In our fragmented everyday lives, we all try to make sense of what is in front of us. Trying to define space, time and situation. Sometimes there... clear and deliberate while other times veiled, hidden and elusive. In "Know. Where. Glimpse.", narrative is obtained in layers. This not only forces the viewer to change lenses, in-and-out-of figure ground, it also challenges them to trust what they know by way of visual Gestalt, imagination, and their own personal storytelling.

At first glance, the black Chinese printing ink seems to combine the idea of a "Rorschach inkblot test” with childhood imagination. This sets up a situation where the viewer’s eye tries to make sense of, or make meaning of, the content...anything to help build narrative. This is the “Know” or the need to “Know.” The unaltered black contact print is still relative to my earlier theme of “Happenstance.”

After inventory is counted and noted in the early stages of the work (again a previous theme of “Hypervigilance” being employed), narrative begins to emerge. A place or time (past or future), an object, a mark, begins to denote the "Where." Interpretational landscapes become an underlying theme in juxtaposition to a broader expressionistic and sometimes surreal setting. This circles back to the "Know" as it provides more clues.

Against such dominant and bold fields of black, refined graphite subtly creates distance, while hard graphite marks produce a language of vibration as if looking at something through thick woods. These marks become distractions, which sometimes seem to be in the way of the narrative, or are they the narrative. This curiosity of a "Glimpse" also feeds back into the "Know."

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