One of our favourite artists here at Front Free Endpaper, the Canadian painter Daniel Barkley has been interviewed by Combustus magazine and the highly illustrated result can be found here. The interview describes Barkley as an 'allegorical' painter, and of course he is: it is nice in the course of this interview to have some of the narrative of a couple of paintings opened up a little by the artist, such as the Narcissus (above) who creates his own reflection and the Sebastian (pictured in the interview) who pulls his own arrows from his body. I also enjoyed hearing about the paintings of Michael (such as 'Brothers Keeper' below) in which Michael stands or lies on the ice in which his brother Lucifer is imprisoned (a la Dante) and is illustrated by the gold suggesting armour that is just visible through the ice.
For me, however, much as I think these directly allegorical paintings are beautiful, Barkley comes into his own in those paintings where figures are placed in liminal landscapes, often on the edges of water or or blank space, sometimes covered in paint or wrapped in blue plastic and often with boats, bikes, rafts or other means of journeying. For me, this is where Barkley does what is really very difficult in any artistic medium: to create something which resonates with a quality of myth without actually being a direct depiction, to paint something ancient and true and mythic drawn from his own psyche and experience. In the world of letters the best example I can think of would be Ted Hughes's Crow.
The interview also gives the wonderful news that next year there is to be a book of Barkley's drawings.