Opening 22 January 2022, 11am.  Runs until 13 March 2022.
Nirox Sculpture Park

FORMS Gallery and Nirox Sculpture Park  are pleased to present Here Is Where We Meet, a solo exhibition by Hedwig Barry.

Barry’s first solo, Here Is Where We Meet, brings together a collection of new sculptures and paintings brought to completion during Barry’s seven-week residency at the Nirox Sculpture Park. Shifting between two-dimensional and three-dimensional media, Barry’s work invites us to think about the formal and physical limits of, and intersections between, painting and sculpture.

The exhibition centres around a new body of Crumple sculptures, large-scale three-dimensional works made from massive sheets of crumpled metal welded together to create complex and enigmatic forms. The sculpted surfaces are meticulously treated with automotive paints, shifting and softening our experience of the material. These works were initially inspired by so-called “crumple zones” in cars – areas in the bodies of cars which are designed to crumple in the instance of an accident, absorbing the force of impact and protecting the  bodies inside the vehicle. Barry’s Crumple series brings to mind this protective capacity, foregrounding the relationship between destruction and preservation, force and form.

Alongside the Crumple sculptures Barry presents new works on canvas which continue her exploration of automotive paints and painting techniques, combining a new lexicon of mark-making with her distinctive compulsively “worked” surfaces. These paintings defamiliarise the classical relationship between figure and ground, removing the hierarchy that makes a “figure” more important than the “ground” that we traditionally understand as a background or an invisible support. This can be read as a metaphor for the disruption of other forms of hierarchies that give prominence to some  entities  – or types of entities – while overlooking others.

Borrowing its title from a novel by John Berger (Here is Where We Meet, 2005), the exhibition echoes several of the themes and sentiments that emerge in the book: playfulness, remembering, journeys, mourning and desire. And like Berger’s prose, Barry’s work searches for a language to mediate between feeling, metaphor and visuality.

Here is Where We Meet has been conceived as a total environment, a place in which to experience the relationship between form and feeling, marks and memory and the fleeting encounters and events that give shape to life. The exhibition extends from the gallery space at the Nirox Sculpture Park to the park grounds, and until 4 February will be supplemented by smaller-scale works and exploratory video pieces on show in and adjacent to the studio in which Barry has been working for the duration of the residency.

Hedwig Barry (b.1969, Bloemfontein) is a Johannesburg-based artist working at the intersection of drawing, painting and sculpture. A long career as an educator, facilitator, producer and collaborator across artistic disciplines has led her to a dedicated studio practice that is rich, confident and prolific. Probing the metaphors of “grounding” and “groundlessness,” Barry’s work explores the politics of love, desire, care and repair. She situates her practice at the interface of the personal and the public, the emotional and the intellectual, and the bodies, grounds, materials, desires and gestures which give meaning to these relationships.

In 2020, Barry graduated cum laude with an MA in Fine Arts from the Wits University, and, through a collaboration between Wits and BMW, was commissioned to create two large-scale outdoor interventions for the BMW headquarters in Midrand, South Africa. She is currently an artist-in-residence at the Nirox Foundation.

Photograph: Liz Whitter



ART + LIFE (Vol. 1)

18 November - 16 December 2021

45 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg, South Africa.

For over a century artists all around the world have explored the relationship between art and everyday life, making artworks that both represent and augment the environments we all live in. In this collaboration between FORMS and MEZZANINE, new artworks by four Johannesburg-based artists are displayed in spaces designed for contemporary living.




7 September - 1 October 2021

Wits Art Museum
Corner of Jan Smuts and Jorrissen Avenues, Braamfontein, Johannesburg.