For 'Wyrd Then : Weird Now' artist Sol Bailey Barker takes the ancient ritual axe as a starting point to explore notions of sacred objects and rituals of the Neolithic landscapes of Europe. Through an investigation of the evolution of sacred forms and materials, and in reviving shamanic characters to perform ancient object-based rituals, Bailey Barker reflects on the relationship between societies and their enduring power symbols.
Bailey Barker has worked in collaboration with composer and sound artist Joe Farley to create a complex soundscape for the exhibition, making use of the sculptures’ sonic potential, and employing them as ritual instruments. This soundscape is used as the soundtrack for an accompanying film, made in collaboration with cinematographer Ruben Woodin Dechamps.
‘Wyrd Then : Weird Now’ features work from ‘Outpost’, a photographic series by Tom Hatton made around the North Wales mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. The series, presenting the closed slate mines as evocative space-scapes, captures the harsh geometry of the landscape, which has inspired much of Bailey Barker's work.