HAYLEY BARKER

Apparition Hill, 2014

What does a contemporary mystical site look like and how can it be represented in a painting? In September 2013 I visited the village of Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Apparition Hill” is the first installment of this project and is made in response to my time there. It focuses on a site situated within a region still coming to terms with its recent civil war. There, religious experience, tourism, natural beauty and recent acts of violence merge. In 1981, six children had visions of the Virgin Mary on Apparition Hill. Their experiences created a groundswell of local and international pilgrims who flock there to this day, despite opposition from the government and the Catholic Church. Three of the children, now adults, continue to see Mary daily.  The paintings, drawings, and objects in this show deal with the vibrancy of place, souvenirs as relics, and the unsanctioned, ecstatic spaces where visions occurred and continue to occur as a kind of resistance. The imagery in the multilayered paintings comes from drawings made on site, the iconography of Marian souvenirs, and appropriated works from early Modernism and 1980’s Neo-expressionism.

This exhibition will feature a publication with an essay by Sarah Sentilles.