Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bridge to Solitude by Barry Atkinson

Bridge to Solitude, by Barry Atkinson teases my imagination. Its one of six paintings in his Japanese garden set.

I find that many traditional Asian artworks hang in a land suspended by the notes of an Eastern musical instrument. They exist. They say little. They are caught in a place where time is suspended.

Bridge to Solitiude as has lot to say in a gentle way, and it says it well. There is a visual pathway, up the tree trunk, over the bridge, up the waterfalls towards the moonlight. This is a subdued place, where mood is created by misty diffused light. The scene emerges out of mist. Is there something beyond the mountain? Who really cares? Maybe there's nothing. It's all so mystical.

But yet, the hand of man is all over it.

This is a cultured, refined and manicured world. This is a world of control and design. It doesn't just happen. The tree has no surplus branches - there are no twiggy bits that don't belong. There is no chaos. No ramdom pieces that tear your clothes or scratch your skin. Even the rocks which peer down on the garden below are softened by moss.

It's all so graceful for this is a world of soft, rounded contours. It's a world of peace. And, it's a world where you hang somewhere in a controlled, meditative suspension.

There is no violence in this world. No sound of stumbling feet, No sounds period. There are no people.

This is a world of misty blue. Blue is said to be the oriental colour of spirituality. Light plays its magic with blue notes.

I like the interconnectiveness of light in this work. The, moonlight, the bridge, the pathway and the touches of light which sparkle on the tops of plants. It's a place where you would expect, twinkling, dancing spirits.

It looks like our world, but it's so designed that it gives the viewer a sense of profound peace and timelessness - as if the artist, has had a vision of some place - eternal. A place prepared for us. A mystical Shangrila - where you can sit forever in the lotus position and contemplate the divine.

While it would seem complete to end my critiquing here, there is something more to it than meditative otherworldliness. The perfect roundness of the bushes, give it an ethereal, almost cinematic quality. But then again, that's what we should expect from Barry - for his personal life story is rich with his work with Disney and with the film arts.

Nicely painted Barry.

Look for Barry's personal story and other works in a not too distant blog entry.


  1. Wow, I must agree, this painting is really amazing. I am going to look for more work from this artist!

  2. When The popular comment layout is common, so it is easily recognized scanning to post a comment. If the comment section is in a different format, then I am going to spend more time trying to decipher what everything means.

    get degree


Thank you for posting your comments.
ATTENTION SPAMMERS: Comments with links to other websites, will not be accepted.

A message for anonymous posters: Comments will be accepted provided they are thoughtful and articulate.

Reciprocating comments between posters will not be accepted. Sorry - I have no intention of giving readers the opportunity to engage in flame wars. It won't happen.

Fredericks-Artworks Blog, copying policy

The Canadian Copyright act, section 29 reports on fairdealing, that it is not an infringement to reproduce someone else's work for research, study, criticism, review or to report. Which pretty much sums up what this site is about. All content sources, be they artists, printed references, and website url's are respectfully identified on this site. http://http//

Mission Statement
A Portrait of the Visual Arts in Canada, is intended to celebrate the richness of Canada's visual arts, and to promote the arts in Canada.

Statement of Intent
I make every effort to credit the sources of information used in this blog and to obtain the permission and cooperation of all the works presented by living artists. I try, as much as possible to use works from public sources eg. national and provincial collections, of deceased artists. If for any reason, any artist disapproves of anything written about them or their work the artist is encouraged to request withdrawal of the content.