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'Patterns' by Sara Barker Credit: Keith Hunter Photography
‘Patterns’ by Sara Barker Credit: Keith Hunter Photography

There are many ways to escape the hustle and bustle of the Festival but none quite as beautiful, thoughtful and connected as Jupiter Artland just fifteen minutes south of the city.  It’s not a surprise therefore that an artist, Glasgow-based Sara Barker, jumped at the opportunity.  The mission set for her by The Edinburgh Art Festival was to use Artland as a means of pushing out the boundaries and creating a conversation or ‘Parley’ with the city centre.  She was also asked to create a “sculptural pivot at Artland where people could congregate and meet”.  She was inspired by the park’s natural surroundings to produce her first outdoor sculpture, called ‘Patterns’ , from sheets of glass, delicate wire and metal.

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Each work of art at Jupiter Artland is very different, from the fragile woven fishing lines of ‘Over here’ to the cast-iron ‘Suck’, but they all blend into their woodland surroundings.   Sara Barker took on this challenge and decided to use a collage of thin material which would not only blend with but also use the trees and ferns as an important integral part of the sculpture.

The name ‘Patterns’ comes from an Amy Lowell poem and also the light reflecting on the glass and the natural structures in the surrounding ferns, which Sara explained:-“Ferns being that ultimate symbol of fractal form…often I am drawing in space with metal to be repeating ever larger forms that echo the way a fern grows as nature’s short cut.”

The outdoors is new to this artist who is used to indoor galleries so the “beautiful inspiring place” of Jupiter Artland gave Sara an opportunity to test out her ideas:-“I wanted to see something outside…that was different to the other work at Jupiter and different to a lot of heavy, weighty, masculine sculpture…something that was made from material of  the interior space…bringing the language of glass and brass work out into the exterior.”

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Sara has used these sensitive materials to manipulate light by reflection, distortion and by playing with lines of sight.  Indeed, it is big enough to be fully interactive and participants can step inside and see their own reflection begin to mould, as Sara explained:- “It’s important to be able to see yourself in the glass… a humanness where you can be involved.”

You and everything else are part of ‘Patterns’ : the sky, the earth and the trees, are part of the vision and they are all equal.   It is a very personal experience as the light of day changes, and different people see the space around the sculpture in distinctive ways as the boundaries are liminal and fragmentary, unpredictable and surprising.  Sara explained:-“It was really exciting that first night we put the glass up. These slices through space that are very ephemeral and transparent, the way it interacted with the light and didn’t fight it, the fluidity of the flow of energy going through the piece, and you don’t know whether the glass will be a barrier to that happening.”

For a sense of intimacy, peace and reflection head for Jupiter Artland on the daily free bus.  Details are available with the Edinburgh Art Festival website and the exhibit will be at the Jupiter Artland until 15 September.