Ros Barker & Ruth Payne

We are investigating:



qualities of paper



qualities of mark

More to come….


Ruth Payne

The work I produced for Straight, the first stage of the collaboration, uses paper objects which have performed their primary function (shopping lists, brochures, paper napkins, free newspapers, opened envelopes, empty seed packets). These are the fragments machine-stitched together to produce the long strip with no thought to juxtaposition or meaning, just physical fit.

The human brain tries to identify pattern and assign meaning, so one response to the work is to try and figure out if there is a connection between fragments fixed next to each other. This is entirely the concept of the viewer.

Because of the inclusion of personal and hand-written notes and lists, there is inevitably an aspect of autobiography. I try to fight shy of producing highly self-revelatory work, as I suspect it does not leave enough room for the individual onlooker to form their own opinions. However, we all make lists to try and order our days, our consumption, our work. This work is as much about what is and is not important: sifting through all the outward qualia and inner promptings to establish relevance and meaning.

The ‘scroll/strip’ is originally designed to be outdoors, ‘ going somewhere’, or appearing to. I had some of the work of Richard Long in mind when siting it.


‘Straight’ my mind has not achieved this mode of thinking since appraising the word for task 1 of our collaboration project.

Starting point as always head for a definition, as my mind latched on to images of Halloween 2009 in LA and a closed freeway choc a block with exotic transvestites all parading to multiple live bands, I don’t know my collaborators so squash the exotic and figurative (Now know it may have been a good move!)

Having started an MA in drawing at Wimbledon Center for Drawing, UAL in October I would like a cross fertilization of my ideas and exploration of methodology between both ventures. I didn’t appreciate my initial intense drawings for ‘straight’ would have to remain in my MA portfolio as it dawned that they would move through the group to be adapted, altered and even erased as part of the collaborative project. One collaborator asked if it was OK to burn work!

‘Straighten’ while everyone comments on my tidy home I know I am a hoarder and the cupboards bulge.

I had been reading Tim Ingold ‘Lines A Brief history’ and his discussion about if a line could ever be straight even when using a ruler had lodged in my memory. My starting point was to extend the lines in a magazine, using a ruler on the left and freehand on the right and yes the ruled lines dipped and wobbled as they left the ruler on the curve of the page. They also blotted and smeared due to my selection of a gel pen, leaving an edge of ruler print.

Klee taking his line for a walk was also in my thoughts and I wanted to see how long a straight line I could draw free hand. Initially this was going to be on a 9-meter roll of paper but the curve of the page made me think a three-dimensional object may be more challenging and I selected a kitchen roll tube. My initial aim was that it should be a continuous line but I failed in the manual dexterity challenge.

I next selected a rectangular box. The process was long and required breaks to prevent cramping and held a surprising number of issues, decisions and intense concentration.

I was also reading ‘The thinking Hand’ Juhani Pallasmaa and was playing with the idea of drawing life sized hands placed on the wall with a straight line joining them across as wide an expanse of wall as possible. Considering what the hands would be holding, it’s tensile strength; elasticity, thickness etc led me to scan my own hands on an A3 scanner. I hoped that the initial impression is that they appear to be holding a taught ultra fine line of minuscule proportion, like a hair. In reality on closer inspection the straight line is an illusion.

Rosalind Barker



Lindsay Connors

Val & I have had our first meeting. We are have been given work created by Niki Campbell & Rosalind Barker. Interesting to collaborate with a new person – we are in the process of trying to extract a new direction for the works created by NC and RB, whilst at the same time discovering new ground and negotiating new parameters & rules. Some initial ideas are surfacing amidst the initial and inevitable polite ‘stepping around’ in this new collaboration.

It feels a bit like a maths formula:

work(RB) x work (NC) x {artist(LC) + artist(VB)} = x


I am excited about the Paper work collaboration – where it might lead, who the other participants are, will they be sympathetic. I have been thinking, looking, drawing threads together for the first topic, ‘Straight’.

I am currently working towards a solo exhibition in October exploring the feeling of various landscapes through colour, and I am looking for ways to link the two projects, hoping that one will feed into the other. I have been sifting through my large collection of ‘palette prints’ and doodles, looking for starting points.

One thing I am experiencing is a tension between wanting to present a good piece of work to the project and not wanting anybody else to intervene with it, as is very likely to be the case. Unaccustomed to collaboration in art work, I am outside my comfort zone.

. I was realising that ‘straight’ is quite an alien concept to me, my work being layered,gestural and free. But some time ago, I made a large series of drawings and paintings that were vertical stripes, inspired by the windows in our old Pennine cottage. Like the windows, the series was called ‘Mullions’. These bands of colour were not pristine or hard-edged but melded in to each other, with some sharper edges here and there.

I decided to photograph one of the Mullion series pieces still in my possession, an oil pastel drawing on paper. I printed the photograph on to Hahnemuller Inkjet Fine Art paper, 310g/m2, and worked on top of the print with wax crayons It is a piece I can easily pass on, and the thickness and strength of the paper, I hope, will enable interventions.