Evan Barbour: Organs

During his residency at the Growlery, Evan Barbour has produced a body of work conceptualized as Organs. These assemblages of found objects (and paintings derived from them) bear a striking resemblance to anatomical structures. Recalling a hierarchy learned in biology class of Cells–Tissue–Organ–Organism, Evan appreciates how every organism is a complex composition of organs. Each organ with it’s own unique structure and function is vital to the survival of an individual. In this way, organs within an organism are not indifferent to species within a delicate habitat. The extinction of one can cause the failure of the whole system.

Strewn across the beaches of Northern California are piles of wrack – tangles of seaweed, driftwood, fishing line, etc. These wrack piles, thrown together by the chaos of waves and tides are nonetheless habitat for a wide array of micro and macro-organisms. They seem symptomatic of the current state of our environment – still largely natural, but littered with fragments of manufactured products. They’re also reminiscent of piles of guts or networks of veins: messy yet simultaneously ornate.

Evan’s process during this residency has shifted from randomly composed assemblages, like wrack, to more deliberate constructions, like anatomical illustrations. Building every assemblage as though individual components were vital tissues within some organ, Evan suggests they might serve a purpose, perform a function. As if through a sort of alchemy, these conglomerations of found objects could be transformed into the parts of some greater whole, some imaginary organism.

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