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Barbara Roberts – Artist Statement

My artistic practice is informed by the sciences of deep time, geology and cosmology. Sometimes my work is ideas led and sometimes materials led but is always on a human scale. Using drawings and a mixture of different media I’ve been investigating different ways of evoking a sense of vast periods of time, often making connections between disparate points and timescales. My methodology involves fieldwork, information research and intensive drawing using many dense layers of graphite and sometimes paint as well. The resulting images and materials are then displayed, in combination, using the space as part of the artwork. I hope to draw the viewer closer, for a detailed inspection of the materials and images involved. An important part of my practice is exploring the range of surface qualities that can be produced using graphite. Working on the boundary between art and science, I am thinking about the problems and conflicts between the different disciplines. I am particularly interested in the ideas of the Speculative Realist philosophers, especially Quentin Meillassoux and Ray Brassier. Meillassoux asks how are we to understand the world before human beings or even life existed? Speculative Realism, whilst exciting for the sciences, is hugely problematic for the arts. The more sense we make of our world as scientific understanding progresses, the less sense human culture seems to make.

Brassier R. (2007) Nihil Unbound Enlightenment and Extinction, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, preface xi
Meillassoux Q. (2008) After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency, London, Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.


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