Barrie Jones: Berlin Project, 1945-2013 #14, 2013-2015



The following essay was originally published in September Issue No/3, for the Pressentation house Gallery annual gala fundraiser.


There is an architectonic, de Stijl refinement in Barrie Jones’ large-scale photograph. A patterned, measured logic could be discerned among its minimalist greys. However, rough and rugged textures interfere with and supersede any notion of deliberateness and design. Dark flecks unsettle the image, imbuing the immaculate flatness of Jones’ grid with a raw, deeply haptic quality.

For despite its modern, rectilinear abstraction, Jones’ Berlin Project is fiercely concrete, rooted equally in geographical place and geopolitical history. Jones has photographed the façades of structures that bear war damage from the Battle of Berlin, 1945, forcefully documenting a period of conflict and erasure. Wartime prerogatives and postwar politics are inscribed upon the buildings; in this instalment, patched bullet holes trace a precise though dramatic record of violent societal upheaval, and problematic the socio-political agendas that followed in its aftermath.

Berlin Project 1945-2013 VIII as printed in the publication

Barrie Jones (b. 1950, Ottawa, Ontario) is a Vancouver artist and teaches photography in the University of British Columbia’s department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory. Jones holds a BFA from the University of British Columbia and an MFA form York University, Toronto, and has been practicing photography for forty years. His photography is held in numerous collections across Canada and has been exhibited widely.

Earlier this year, Jones was featured alongside colleague Phillip McCrum in a two-person exhibition, Traces of History, at Organhaus Gallery, Chongqing, China as well as the group show Residual Noise at Gallery 295, Vancouver. Other exhibitions of work include group shows Outcomes (2014) at the AHVA Gallery, Vancouver, and Real Pictures (2005) at the Vancouver Art GAllery, as well solo exhibitions such as Uniformed: Urban Heroes to McJobs (2002) at the Richmond Art Gallery.