The vast majority of the works in Boo-Bah come from the collection of American Psychiatrist Dr Joseph Berke, who came to Kingsly Hall in Bow to learn from radical psychiatrist R.D.Laing. It was there that Berke developed a close relationship with Mary Barnes who was struggling with a breakdown at the time. Boo-Bah was Barnes’ nickname for Berke, scrawled in a love letter written by the patient.
Diagnosed as a schizophrenic, Barnes managed to work through her illness by making paintings at a ferocious rate. The results, as this east London exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery demonstrates, are extraordinary. Thick smears of paint congeal into abstract compositions and dramatic figurative scenes. Applied by fingers and brushes, these works drip with the punch of Barnes’ unmediated internal anguish. At its heart this exhibition tells a heart-warming story of overcoming debilitating obstacles through the power of friendship and art.
|What||Mary Barnes: Boo-Bah, The Nunnery|
|Where||Nunnery Gallery, 181 Bow Road, London, E3 2SJ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Bow Road (underground)|
16 Jan 15 – 29 Mar 15, Tuesday - Sunday 10am-5pm
|Website||Click here for more information|