Images Festival Blog 3 Andrew James Paterson


Daniel Barrow Emotional Feelings

Art Gallery at York University, Mar. 31- June 6


I take two or three trips through Daniel Barrow’s two rooms of magical projections at the Art Gallery of York University and find myself thinking about ornamentation and all that is ornate, as in rococo. I am seeing Barrow’s drawings magnified and amplified - the drawings are performing per se as they allow themselves to be modified by viewers permitted to play with the glasses and the frames. I love it when the harpsichord music kicks in - talk about ornate!

And then I find myself thinking about Barrow’s title. Emotional Feelings? As opposed to what other varieties of feelings? Malevolent feelings? Well, I mean, talk about emotional! Is Barrow’s title a tautology? I do think of that awful seventies song “Feelings” - the song which is so rote and standard that it is impossible for anybody to actually perform the fucking thing with any feelings. Sincerity unaware of its own artifice is, of course, camp - in a very classical sense of that noun and adjective.

Perhaps “feelings” might be a verb, since “feeling” is at least a dangling participle? Both “emotional” and “feelings” are generally considered oppositional to “formalist” and “realist”. Not that the latter two adjectives are necessarily allied or intertwined or symbiotic. At the AGYU, Barrow utilizes a variety of antiquated analogue projectors and makes the performative aspect of projection available to viewers. This is different than his performances which combine his own performative monologues with his skilful manipulation of his drawings and their projections. Emotional Feelings is devoid of Barrow’s signature voice-over and his monologues, which have tended to play on a very delicate boundary between sincerity and irony. As a result, Barrow’s AGYU installation is both ornamental and populist. It has feelings, as well as discipline.