The first monographic publication on American artist Mark Barrow is split into two small volumes, counterparts that complement each other to provide new insights into Barrow’s unique practice. A Catalogue of paintings and drawings, featuring a conversation between the artist and Matthew Higgs, accompanies Redaction, Barrow’s first artist’s book.
Matthew Higgs: Can you say more about the book project you have been working on recently, and how you plan to present it—i.e. within a functional, furniture-like structure of your own design?
Mark Barrow: The project is a conceptual piece that takes the form of book. It is called Redaction because it is a collection of texts and images I appropriated, and also because I alter the texts by removing words. The basic conceit of the book comes from the linguists Lakoff and Johnson: we can only understand concepts in terms of other concepts. To facilitate movement between concepts I try to pare the texts and images down to their basic elements—pixels and words. (…) The book represents similar ideas to those behind the paintings, but in a different form. I didn’t have to do much research for the book because I was already thinking about most of the texts and images vis-à-vis my paintings. The book seemed like a more direct or transparent medium for delivering the ideas because it did not carry the baggage of being a “painting.”ß It’s just thoughts bound together. In this sense, making the book has given me clarity in my own thoughts, and in how I approach my paintings.