‘George Barber was born in Georgetown, Guyana and studied at St Martins School of Art and The Slade.
Barber is eclectic, his ideas varied. Narrative and found footage seem to be at the centre of much of his work, either deconstructing it or trying as an artist to evolve an approach that is contradictory to the maker’s original intention. Barber’s skills as a writer have led him to produce many lyrical works too, including ‘Walking Off Court’ and ‘Withdrawal’ and various monologues like ‘I Was Once In A Shit Show’ and ‘Refusing Potatoes’. His recent work, ‘Following Your Heart” and “Losing Faith” the central conceit is to take found footage and manipulate it into a new artistic experience. The ingredients of television are inverted and put to new purposes.
He has also produced a number of eccentric works like “Waiting For Dave” which is a homage to Dave Curtis and his one-time power at the Arts Council and also “Beyond Language” which reference early video art yet is contemporary too where two women attempt to communicate by making noises on a fly over near Mile End. In fact, Barber has created many low-tech video pieces and was influential in defining an emergent ‘slacker’ aesthetic in the 1990s which again has been influential on a younger generation of video artists.’
Early in his career his compilation “The Greatest Hits Of Scratch Video” became internationally known and a highly influential work. The collection created much interest and was featured in many galleries and festivals across the world – and copied by advertisers and promo directors. His two contributions to the tape, ‘Absence of Satan’ and ‘ Yes Frank No Smoke’ are still screened regularly and are important in the history of British Video Art.
LUX released a DVD compilation of his work curated by Matthew Noel-Todd available on Amazon. Film & Video Umbrella have released a monograph. Seventeen Gallery and Anthony Wilkinson have also shown his work.
A comic monologue, I Was Once Involved in a Shit Show is a recollection of an imaginary art event that tallies with what most artists experience when they are involved in putting on an unfunded group show.