Clive Barker, the British artist, film director, and author, comes to the Copro Gallery in Santa Monica with a new show. “Wunderkammer,” running Aug. 6-27, focuses on the artist’s neo-expressionist paintings. Like Barker’s work in other mediums, the subject matter leans toward fantasy and horror imagery. But as the title suggests (translated to mean the “Cabinet of Curiosities” of the Renaissance), there’s both a playful and mysterious nature to this body of work.
“3 Beasts Devouring Each Other” is an example of the former, a stark contrast from Barker’s work creating the horrifying narratives that fueled Hellraiser and Candyman film series. Works like “Death Womb” and “Demons Of Night And Day” strike a different chord, hinting at the brooding mood present in the author’s short stories. The gallery notes that the real-life cabinets referenced in the show’s title held “works of art and antiquities. The best documented ‘Wunderkammer’ cabinets were of rulers, aristocrats and early practitioners of science in Europe forming collections that were precursors to museums.”
Barker’s visual pieces have also appeared in magazines, arts books, as illustrations his own young adult book, and galleries across the world. The gallery maintains that, at times, one medium can inform the other. “His characters, while often physically misshapen and outrageous, portray very human emotions,” says the gallery’s statement. “Perhaps it is for this reason that many people find a deeper meaning within Clive’s artwork. A wide range of styles, from humorous to shocking, from apparent to complex, his gigantic oil paintings portray characters and concepts that find their way into his huge catalog of movies, books and screenplays.”