Summer Formal, with Hayley Barker, Jason David, and Nancy Ford is a show that coalesces around texture, mark making and colors, inadvertently expressing a casual optimism that complements the season. Hayley Barker’s two paintings, Bathers 1 and Bathers 2 are virtuoso examples of wildly active but ultimately controlled mark making. Almost completely abstract, her paintings hover between constructed and deconstructed images. They suggest idyll landscapes, but leave one consumed by the highly energetic force field that almost overwhelms them. Eventually your eyes settle into the frenetic network of lines, shapes and colors to find the figures within the overgrowth. Like a psychedelic vision, the paintings dissolve boundaries of self and surroundings, yet Barker manages to create a unified experience. She demonstrates a masterful control over her work, harnessing the variety of her painting strokes and an ambitious color palette. Barker, an artist to watch, sets a high mark with these two exciting paintings.
-by Lorraine Heitzman