Yellow Peril Gallery, Providence
"The Pull of Things" is an exploration of the senses and memory in the carving out of the sacred in the everyday. The body of work Toby Barnes has been developing the past few years has focused on the idea of a “sacred space” and the creation of such spaces as a way of re-enchanting our lives and bridging public and private. “ I began this exploration by examining the use of found objects to create personal altars in restaurants, roadsides, bus stops, and other public spaces from India to Ecuador (“Altared States”),” notes Barnes. “I then explored this mode of re-enchantment through the use of ritualistic practices drawing inspiration from community rituals that are indigenous to Laos and Northern Thailand (“32 Ghosts”). In my most recent series (“Body Electric”), I extended my investigation to examine the use of the body and home gyms in everyday sacred-making.”
Presented by Yellow Peril at VOLTA NY 2017, "The Pull of Things" takes these explorations further by exploring the relationship between objects and their “pull” in eliciting the senses and our memories to create sacred spaces within our minds. The scent of perfume, the sight of beloved childhood desert, the whir of a fan, the sound of song can trigger memories loving, painful, nostalgic. These triggers can all be commonly shared yet they each jot our individual senses in unique ways to create our own private sacred spaces in time and space. "The Pull of Things" is a display of the artist’s sensual triggers. By making this display open and public, Barnes is extending an invitation to the audience to engage in their own sacred space-making out of the artist’s belief that this re-enchantment of our private can be a way to bridge the current chaos and conflict of our shared public spaces — physical and virtual.