brian barr


Eternal must accept reconstruction, it must welcome alterations and it must be content with new meanings. Western civilization has given merit to itself through a union between object and eternal that leaves a taste of fake-nostalgia in one’s mouth. In their recent exhibit titled Fake Empire, hosted by Cultural DC at Flashpoint Gallery, collaborative duo and spouses Brian Barr and Lauren Rice expose the significant obsession Western culture has with object appraisal, and retort with a new stance on moving forward without losing evidence of what once was.

The sixteen-piece installation conceptualizes the decomposition of object material by using many mediums. Drywall, wood, altered and aged books and images of Greek Art and Architecture reinforce how transitory material truly is.  In contrast to marble, the elitist and grandeur limestone that Greek sculpture is associated with, non-permanent resources reflect the acceptance of decay and transformation. Barr and Rice have taken the images and objects of Western society’s past and manipulated them into collages that convey the impact of time and space with object attachment. This deconstruction in turn reconstructs a present memory that is based on one’s personal relationship to an object in order to connect society’s individual affiliations as one.

The piece Æ ties together both of these concepts in it’s title and it’s aesthetic. Although no longer used today, the Latin ligature Æ was used to bring together the letters ‘a’ and ‘e’ to form a cohesive vowel. The origin shows how the English language has been restructured and altered over time to fit current language requirements. Perhaps Barr and Rice are hinting at a process possible to apply to our imagery as well. Although the piece itself is a distorted configuration of Greek imagery, it is inevitably uniting imagery of the past with new form from today.

Fake Empire is a must-see for a weekend gallery exploration for those unafraid to reflect on their perception of the past.  Showing until December 21st Tuesday- Saturday from 12 to 6 pm at Flashpoint Gallery.

Bringing the Art in DC to You (as a guest),

Amber Gabrielle Niewald