The Unresolved – new collaborative works by Will Barras and O.Two
C/ de la Carassa 4
29 April, 5–9 pm
Will Barras and O.Two (James Carey) share a lot of ideas and techniques, expressed in completely different ways in their works. Having been friends, and working in the same field for nearly twenty years, they eventually found an excuse to work together, collaborating on a series of murals for an arts festival in Niort, France in 2019 – with no real idea of what they were going to paint, the artists took turns at the wall, building layers of information and stripping away the unnecessary – Barras’ figurative, narrative style emerging and retreating amongst Carey’s bold abstract clouds and shapes.
With The Unresolved, Fousion Gallery revisits this process with a collection of paintings made by the artists during lockdown in early 2021. Through text messages and occasional phone calls, what might usually happen in the pub, or on visits to each other’s studios, the artists explored ideas, joked about global pandemics and built a concept for a collection of collaborative pieces. In the spirit of the Surrealist’s Exquisite Corpse, in which artists blindly contribute to an image that is revealed only once finished, each artist paints the first few layers of a set of canvases and then after a socially distanced, clandestine exchange in a lonely carpark halfway between Barras’ Hackney studio, and O.Two’s countryside home studio, they work over and into each other’s previous paint.
As Barras states; "It presents a problem to solve" – each artist must interpret a composition, a pallet of colours, or fill a space that they might not usually approach. "We’re pushing each other beyond our comfortable range, knowing that anything could come back, you could receive something completely unexpected from the other artist – but you also have an idea of how it might have come about, how it might have been formed … so there’s a dialogue, just spoken in a slightly different dialect," says Carey.
This blind process has resulted in a collection of unexpected paintings, works that neither artist could have known were going to happen. Unplanned, unexpected, unresolved.