Transformative socially engaged art
Beth Barlow’s current practice is based in the transformative socially engaged art field. Beth works with groups of people and in her studio to develop artistic models which allow the exploration of issues and might inform our collective future thinking and decision making. Her work aims to provoke thought and conversation.
A recent project discussing issues inspired by news stories has resulted in Beth creating a large scale crocheted piece. The work called “Lump It. Like It. We are All Connected.” is set to tour venues and events and be accompanied by artist conversations and the documenting of overheard murmurings.
Beth’s most expansive project has been “Knit a Year”, a project where 200 plus participants have knitted their moods for a year and engaged in online discussions about craft, art and life.
A project with MMU students took Beth’s “Beautiful Things” series and explored how artistic intervention can add or take away an objects value. Unloved objects found in charity shops were given a new lease of life as boxed artworks and artists prints. Offered to people as bartered objects the work explored value and its associations to money.
“The March” is an ongoing project where knitted woolly headed protestors march on behalf of their patrons. Employed to attend events and demos they stand in march pose waving the banners of the patrons choice. Projects are usually associated with a project blog which Elizabeth uses as a repository for real life conversations she has and a place for others to look at or contribute their online thoughts to.
Beth is part of local arts group “Markmakers” and is set to show two pieces of work in group exhibitions. One will feature a dolls house converted into an empty gallery. The second is a work called “You are always safe when you shop on e bay” which looks at how, in a growing secular world we may change our trust from gods and saints to brands.
The form Beth’s work takes is wide but the themes are often echoed through the work. The work looks at presenting new models for social justice and revolutionising our thoughts and interactions with the world.
Beth is well versed at explaining complex things, through her work and in person, in ways which allow comfortable conversation. Finding common ground which will help us unlock the more complex themes within the work. One recent conversation with a friend went;
Friend: “So what’s all this about?”
30 minutes of intense chat.
Beth :“Sorry, you probably wanted a quick answer.”
“Well I knew not to expect one. That’s why I sat down.”
Beth also runs taster sessions in art alongside other professional artists and more intense projects as funding allows. She has a 1:1 Fine Art Degree, an MA in fine art and 20 years experience as an artist.