Oliver Barratt brings to sculpture a sense of deep intuition, creating art that is driven by a subconscious journey of unplanned creativity. Largely instinctive, he describes his work as “a thesis of trust in the power of informed intuition, a balance oxymoron. It bridges the gap between a clear and rational purpose, and the hunch. The age-old dance between Dionysus and Apollo. Images flicker in and out of focus in a perpetual conundrum, a playful puzzle…” Without overthinking or meticulously planning, Oliver works through a strong connection between his subconscious mind and the hand that sculpts: “one thing leading to the next in an execrable logic all of its own.”
His work is also an exercise in juxtaposition- the hard materials of steel or brass are juxtaposed with fluid and curvaceous forms, solidity versus buoyancy: “the raw material of steel or brass gives way to modelled and painted surfaces, as if the bone had protruded out of flesh, simultaneously sensual and painful.” The result is sculpture that longs to be touched- opulent and full of movement and gesture.
Based in Kent, for the past 20 years Oliver has been producing work for both private commissions and public projects. He exhibits regularly in the UK and around the world, including the Venice Guggenheim and Royal Academy, London. His commissions are highly impressive, including the Everest Memorial at the Base Camp of Mount Everest in Nepal, a commission for the City of Liverpool as “European City of Culture” and a breath-taking memorial sculpture in the Antarctic. Oliver studied sculpture at Falmouth School of Art and was awarded the Henry Moore Fellowship in 1990.