Object type



Double son of rubble


Sara Barker artist

Place Associated

Scotland, Glasgow (place made)




aluminium, steel, brass, automotive paint, aerosol spray paint, oil paint


overall: 2032 mm x 2972 mm x 571 mm


Double son of rubble (2017) is a wall mount relief sculpture with protruding welded metal elements emerging from the painted aluminium trays that form the background of the work. Two figures next to a crumbling wall in a barren landscape can be seen in the painting on the aluminium trays.

Double son of rubble is the most ambitious of Sara Barker's 'tray-trench' works to date where she explores the boundaries between sculpture and painting and themes of duality, creativity and birth.

The palette and mark-making in this work are recognisably drawn out of her earlier sculptural language, where slivers of painterly surface take form. The work sits firmly between painting and sculpture, driving forward narrative and pictorial aspects simultaneously with complexly brazed and welded metal and perspex sculptural elements. These works are development from her 2014 solo show for GENERATION in the Gallery of Modern Art, where the questioning of painting and sculpture forms resulted in a number of free standing works and experiments with jewellery making techniques in the welded metal forms that adorned the work. The linear metalwork, Barker says, 'is both the starting point and drawing of the work, and becomes the final graphic layer of the composition. It adds and complicates the narrative of the painting, drawing out forms, patterns and language. Figures are framed and dissected by the tangle of steel'.

Double son of rubble can be seen as a physical portal in the gallery space, opening up into other worlds and spaces for reflective thought. Perhaps closer to a hybrid etching plate or an archaeological 'finds tray', a container for paint, than traditional painting surface, the tray is divided into framed compartments, filmic, domestic, architectural at once. Thinly applied automotive paint in blurred blocks of muted colour, and spray paint, suggest emerging figures and architecture, typically sitting between interior and exterior, with a scene that could as much be an overloaded bookcase as it is a crumbling curved wall.

A starting point for this work is imagery from a book of drawings of early agricultural life. Barker is also influenced by Hiroshige's graphic landscape prints and William Blake's illustrations and, in this hazily drawn landscape, we are made aware of man's activity on the landscape, its permanence and our own intervention with it - temporary, ephemeral and a fleeting interaction with the landscape that can often leave unintended impacts. Many of the figures are seen alongside wheels, cogs or what look like machinery and worked fields (illustrated in the demarcated sections of trays, the paint being more contained). Though the two figures in the work are not as pronounced in this work as they are in others from the show. They can be seen creating or destroying the wall and as well as the process of creation and destruction the crumbling architecture imagery is often used in tarot reading citing birth, new chapters (Barker often includes tarot or mythology and codes within her works) as well as looking to Janus, often depicted as twins, God of Gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages - he presided over the beginning and end of conflict; the doors of his temple open in war, closed in peace. Therefore the title Double son of rubble can also be seen to refer to a duality that emerges in Barker's work. Multiple opposites exist in the painting - the depiction of two sons (or twins referencing Janus), the crumbling or 'rebirthing' wall, painting or sculpture, nature or human’s intervention within it and the ideas of transitions between domestic and the outside world.

Credit Line/Donor

Bought with support through a grant from The Henry Moore Foundation

ID Number



In storage

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