Since the beginning of creation, the signature of an artist has been clearly seen in all things. Nature’s constructs may find explanation through science, but science can’t tell us whether something is beautiful or not. This physical world is a medium of sculpture. Sight and touch lead our experiential journey as we navigate life. Salem Barker sees sculpture as the ultimate art form, and it is by no mistake our physical world is the medium that human understanding stems from. He also believes his arrival at sculpture is by higher design. The inherent mystic beauty of the natural world was delivered with intention. For Salem Barker, his heart, thoughts, and feelings are guides as he brings to fruition the art of his imagination.
Barker’s career in sculptural art began in early 2007. A body of work developed after a few years of creating objects in wood, solely as a hobby, or even therapy. Without a background, education, or training in art, the passion was solely an original pursuit. Salem’s career path had been in the manufacturing and heavy industrial trades, he acquired many skills while traveling and working in many countries and fascinating environments. Spare time amidst travels was spent delving into personal sketchbooks where a creative outlet for imaginary escape and journaling was found. The desire to create beautiful objects now shadowed all other work.
Salem now has art across the country as well as internationally. Larger pieces have been installed in private corporate settings in sizes as tall as twelve feet, while most pieces adorn the homes of art lovers. A handful of faithful patrons have strong and growing collections of Salem’s sculptures and enjoy watching his escalating progression of style expected with each coming year. He believes art must first be attractive before it can communicate a successful message to us. He believes it could only be an artist that willed the mystery of human consciousness to explore and experience itself in a physical world. His sculptures are expected to be entities of themselves, delivering beauty, sure of their purpose. Nearly all human efforts are basic to the resistance of entropy, as we long to escape death and decay. The choice for wood as his main sculpting medium exemplifies resurrection by taking something that has died and giving it new life: a beauty unimagined beyond its original state. This fulfilling pursuit has blessed the living environments for hundreds of people and allowed Salem to raise a family on the sole income of an art profession.
Showing in some of the finest juried art shows in the country, Salem is a frequent award winner and proudly displays his winnings on the walls of his studio where he regularly works amidst his two small boys when they’re not in school. The family bond is the strongest societal construct, and its adhesion is furthered by a home-based career. This is one of Salem’s most important pursuits.
I often describe my sculptures as "a contemporary interpretation of the inherent beauty designed into the natural world". Perfect sculptural composition is witnessed in any basic flower, for instance, and the characteristics and composition arouse my will to explore the forms on my own. A single detail can translate into an entire, lone object. Some works begin with a sketch on paper and others develop by delving into the solid mass of wood. The greater body of my work exists in wood form, which I find exciting as endless varieties and growth phenomena exist in this once living medium. I feel as though I'm bringing something back to life every time a sculpture is finished. Decorative accents often adorn my works in wood, employing details such as dyes, resin infusion, and electrification. Limited editions in cast bronze and aluminum are an occasional execution, as well as a series of stone sculptures. A recent outdoor installation in fabricated steel stands twenty-five feet tall, boldly and tastefully placed in front of a new hotel.
My occupational background is in the technical industrial trades, of which I transitioned into my lone pursuit of art. Without education, mentorship, or training, my discovery of the ability to create the objects in my imagination feels like a humbling gift, although I confidently navigate my career to what it has become, taking pride in workmanship. I look forward to a long, healthy life in this beloved practice that supports a wonderful life for myself, my lovely wife, and our three children.
"From a picture of the mind,
an entity of its own,
sure of its purpose.”