Tuesday 9 July 2024

BARNFIELD JULY9: (2024) - Cooling Towers

(Due to working away last year I realise that I did not update this site for Fred's JULY9 2023 Exhibition, though an entry was made on the youtube site. This can be viewed by following the link provided below. )

Fred came out of the Army after National service & found himself working as a construction labourer. Not far from home the Midland Electricity board was constructing the great cooling towers of the Ocker Hill power plant. Fred poured some of the concrete & became obsessed with the site. To work on such a large construction naturally provides some nostalgia & appreciation for the achievements of antiquity - I worked on the control tower at Luton Airport & marvelled at the design - strong enough to withstand collision from an airplane apparently. Such a monolith could stand for thousands of years if abandoned. Fred felt that the cooling towers were the same - he put some mysticism to them with the suggestion that the triangular arrangement had some significance & together we hypothesised that Ocker Hill had been a site of great significance in ancient times. We wrote a book called the Secret of Ocker Hill that explored his obsession & some possibilities of what might have been there. 

Like Cezanne, who had painted multiple views of Mount St Victoire, Fred set about documenting the cooling towers from different angles. He painted them in blobs with a nod to the Van Gogh Sky technique to produce something extraordinary.  Each has a story - he had thought he only had one of them left but on clearing out his loft a few weeks before he died we discovered another & in the vast collection of rolled up unframed canvases were some others that didn't make the grade for what he wanted to achieve. 

Anyway, the short film available on www.youtube.com/seismicsecret reproduces the catalogue he made & scans of some of the works - have a look maybe. 

Happy birthday Fred. 

Tuesday 28 June 2022


 My favourite Barnfield painting features for this years digital birthday exhibition which will be available as ever on JULY9. https://youtu.be/O2iGffnIU6U

Thursday 8 July 2021

BARNFIELD: JULY9 (2021) - What would Fred have made of it

 Short film of thoughts for this year's BARNFIELD: JULY9 exhibition.  youtube 

Fred's Catalogue of works can be downloaded here

Fred's Blobography can be viewed here

Still working for you Fred. Happy Birthday.

Tuesday 7 July 2020

BARNFIELD: JULY9 - (2020) "Stockhausen's Dream - A Lost Interview."

Over 11 years after it was recorded, a lost interview with Fred Barnfield was found. Fred had some great influence on my band SEISMICSECRET & following on from conversations that started in 2005 about Karlheinz Stockhausen, the quest of producing an endless piece of music was underway. The proper interview got lost due to technical problems but this was a forgotten back up. The music was used for the first JULY9 Exhibition in 2011 so maybe the right time to finish the story up:


Happy Birthday Fred. 

Tuesday 9 July 2019

BARNFIELD: JULY9 (2019) - "Analogue Selfies."

Prior to the digital age, video resources were bulky & out of reach to a lot of the population. Cameras were loaded with film which had no instant playback - so it was a case of taking the picture & a while later the prints would be developed - often disappointing. Instant playback & the amount of photos that can be taken on a modern camera mean that we can take hundreds of images, switch to video mode & check within seconds for quality. These 9 works represent a much slower process: Barnfield painted himself painting - in the same way that artists have done for millenia. Self portraits could be called Analogue Selfies in today's parlance, so that's what this year's exhibition will be called.

Happy Birthday Fred.

Wednesday 20 February 2019

The mystery of the Blobs.

Fred's blob pictures were complex on a number of levels. Paradoxically there was great simplicity at the core of the concept. Over the years he experimented laterally with different forms. This booklet he produced gives some indication of his original form of  BLOBOLOGY .

Sunday 8 July 2018

BARNFIELD: JULY9 (2018) - "Poppies"

It being the 70th Anniversary of WW1, this years exhibition is of Fred's 5 paintings of "Poppies."

Fred left instructions for viewing these five works which he painted as part of his deep feeling of loss for those who died in WW1. After hearing about the science of how the optic nerve works, he explained to me that staring at the paintings intently for some time (maybe a minute) then closing the eyes immediately would result in Red Poppies being “seen” via an optical illusion & reverse coloured backgrounds. There are a few other works that he continued this experiment with & it’s an interesting game to play with any work of art for want of a quiet game to play in galleries. Fred enjoyed the odd very involved practical joke & I wondered if it was all a ruse to get an extra minutes silence out of the viewing public. What do you think?

View the paintings here:

Happy Birthday Fred.

PS. Fans of Fred's Art may be interested in an auction of some of his works next week.