Clive Barker, Imaginer


Sea Captain by Clive Barker.

The inhabitants of Carlisle in the north of England are fortunate that the town’s Crown Gallery is hosting the first exhibition of Clive Barker’s artwork outside the US with a show entitled Clive Barker, Imaginer which opens this weekend. The artist will be attending the opening this Saturday, July 16th, and there’s also a signing planned the day after. Tickets are required for both these events so anyone interested will need to contact the gallery. No details as to what will be on display but the exhibition will run to August 23rd, 2011. Barker’s paintings, drawings and photo prints can be purchased through Bert Green Fine Art, Los Angeles.

8 thoughts on “Clive Barker, Imaginer”

  1. If he’s English why hasn’t he been exhibited outside the US before. Are the British more scared to show his artwork than the Yanks?

  2. I think it’s because he didn’t start exhibiting his work until he moved to the US when he also began painting a lot more seriously, doing big canvases and so on. Prior to that he’d done illustrations and other artwork but wasn’t putting any of it into galleries.

  3. Barker has lived in California for years and years now, probably the only real reason. If he lived in Utah perhaps, he may never be showcased at all, but I could never imagine him living there, though appearance-wise, its a very pretty place.

    Nevertheless, Barker’s once renaissance man-like abilities have appeared to have evaporated in some arenas, but not so with his paintings. I hope he devotes more time to visual art than other endeavors, its what he is best at, for me at least. One could argue his talents as a writer match those of his visual output, but sadly, it seems for many people, happiness replacing sadness and angst can be fatal for artistic inspiration. In some respects one could say this the case with Barker.

  4. Wiley: The evolution of his work seems to be more down to wanting a larger audience than anything to do with personal angst, he’s never seemed very angst-ridden to me. He went into this when I saw him give a talk in 1999 and was asked why he didn’t write more horror; he said the audience for fantasy was a bigger one and he wanted the biggest readership for his work. He also said there was more that he wanted to explore in fantasy.

    I always defend creators on this score since the pressure to repeat yourself whatever medium you’re working in can be considerable, especially if you’ve had any kind of success. There’ll always be a tension between audiences (and the companies who serve them) who want more of the same, and creative people who want to explore new areas. I prefer Barker’s Books of Blood but I can see why he would have felt he’d done enough there and wanted to go elsewhere. I feel the same about the comics work I was doing in the 80s and 90s but people still ask when I’m going to adapt more Lovecraft stories.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with your preference of the Books of Blood, I think those are masterpieces of short story telling, with plenty of nods to surrealism and history and other things, as well as showcasing his formidable talents as a painter for those awesome covers.

    For me, and granted, I’ve never spoken with him at all, but I’ve read many interviews with him conducted at different periods of his life, and the Clive Barker of the 1980’s seemed to be a very different person from the Barker of the late 90’s and onward. In recent interviews when asked to compare his feelings toward his earlier work with his recent efforts, his answers are usually that while he still finds interest in the Books of Blood and some of the plays he wrote at the time (I believe the interview was in regards to ‘Frankenstein in Love’), he’d find himself cringing somewhat and feeling melancholy in recollection of what served as inspiration to his earlier, more experimental stories. By ‘experimental’ I mean more so by their tone and what tranpires within them, than by their approach.

    My issue with Barker isn’t that he doesn’t write straight ‘horror’. Nearly all of his fiction with the exception of the short story ‘Dread’ has been very fantastic in nature. If anything Barker’s earlier stories were influenced more by fin de siecle writers, obscure plays, and subjects associated with various ‘fringe’ cultures, than any of the drivel that inspires writers like Stephen King or Dean Koontz.

    His recent output in most media just isn’t up to par with his older stuff, regardless of genre or classification. His old movies like Hellraiser, Nightbreed, and especially Lord of Illusions, while obviously not the work of a cinematic master, were nevertheless very interesting and influential to say the least. Recently, every movie associated with his name, that he’s had a hand in, lack the dynamic and intriguing nature of his early stuff.

    Also, nerd that I am, he’s tried his hand at video games I’ve played as well. His earliest effort there, Undying, was very, very good in more than one way. His most recent offering there was Jericho, and though its use of gore was very cool and interesting, and the various mystically touched characters you controlled were fun to use, but otherwise- dialogue that ranged from bland to unintentionally hilarious, predictable storyline that never took any chances, and all around just inundated with the same awkwardness that plagues many of his recent endeavors.

    I’ve nothing but respect for him. I certainly didn’t mean to paint him as ever being a young Trent Reznor-like personality. Again, it isn’t the superficial changing of genres that irritates me about his recent work, none of it would be considered family-friendly like Harry Potter anyway. Its just that he’s seemed to have lost whatever inner fire that once drove him to be so relentlessly polymathic, if that is even a word, and successfully so as well. I just think his talent seemed to start with painting, and that part of his output has never gone sour, so I am simply glad he’s still involved with that.

Comments are closed.