Discussion & Articles

My Background

Growing up

Thomas Barlow: Born Carsphairn, north of Dumfries, Scotland, 1961, in the 'Holm of Lagwyne' next to the "Green Well of Scotland", my English parents and family were part of the new generation of progressives and modernists of their time. Divorced when I was 6, creating the tumultuous and transformative background that we 4 boys entered as we careened around the Scottish (and English) countryside with our friends, like something from the "Lord of the flies", but set in the golden era of amazement, with such things as the first moon landing, watching the first test flights of the Concorde flying over our secondary school (my father being one of the air traffic controllers directing it), Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Punk Rock, David Attenborough, Carl Sagan, Open University TV, and an emergent liberal, post-industrial, Scottish society. The era of expansion & new horizons into which we all jumped with both feet.

My father was a navigator in the R.A.F. in the 1950s, in the highest flying operational aircraft on Earth before there were astronauts. Later they moved from Yorkshire to Scotland for his new job as air traffic controller in Prestwick, which became the UK's main international air traffic control center for the UK, North Sea, and Atlantic.

I was born in Carsphairn during the one year they lived there, as they transitioned to the Prestwick area, and finally to stunning West Kilbride on the west coast of Scotland, about 1968.
My mother was an artist, mother, pioneer, visionary, and later, an activist & philosopher, who divined the era we are entering today, and taught wisdom that many are now striving for in this time, 2018.

Women ahead of their time

Feminism has been a huge influence in my life, and though I have no strong nostalgia or attachment to times-past, the story of my mother (who died in 1992) in light of today's world - 2018 - is fascinating and instructive. My parents, uncles, aunts, family-friends, were progressive young adults in the 1950s, entering the truly modern era, at the forefront of many aspects of modernity and post-war freedoms, and that milieu influenced my own outlook at an early age. The story of their lives, relatively forward in their time, and my mother's later thinking and philosophy (which today are becoming mainstream), makes for a fascinating set of connections to where we are as a human race today - a story and teaching I will describe in an upcoming book, the purpose of which teaches us about our most pressing problems and solutions in today's world.

, below, in The Guardian newspaper, 1954, when she was 22 years-old: The big cement figures up front (she was a small woman - not in the photo), at a time when it was pretty new for women to be sculptors of large-scale work. The writer does not feel the need to mention them, as they are clearly the "elephant in the room", and needed no description. The writer's description of other work in the show seems to comment by omission on the glaringly massive, imposing, challenging, innovative, emotive, sculpturally-risqu, cement figures: - Manchester College of Art degree exhibition.
(more about this in my upcoming book on feminism, global-change, & climate-change)

My mother as an artist worked in plaster, cement, wood-carving, paint, ceramics, around themes of egalitarianism, feminism, and cooperation. My father as an avid amateur photographer with his own darkroom, gave me a sophisticated camera at about 10 years-old, and I started to learn darkroom photography, fairly accomplished by the time I was 13 (in the 1990s, I took to digital photography & digital print, and as those have evolved until today, occasionally teaching both darkroom and digital photography to schoolkids and college level).
This background may be one reason I have never felt constrained by rigid disciplines, my own art has included painting, sculpture, bronze, ceramics, plaster, welded metalwork, drawings, woodcarving, stonecarving, photography, etchings, mixed media, digital art. Having taught art, digital art, art history, graphic design, for more than 15 years at the undergraduate level, and occasional advisor at graduate level, I have a broad contextual knowledge of art and its historical influences & lineages, and how art becomes the mirror of society, but also that it has the potential to transform individuals and communities.

My sense is that we are entering the greatest age of art worldwide, when it takes its true place - as the teacher of society - and I intend to be submerged in that upcoming age at all costs.

more to come

1996-97 - Students for Alternatives to Genetic engineering (S.A.G.E).

Main writer and researcher for the student organization "Students for Alternatives to Genetic engineering (S.A.G.E). I wrote all the original content for the main page, and posted all available articles & references for the other pages which mainly consisted of published article summaries, publishded studies, analysis/commentry by experts in the field.
The main premise and article can be found here --> S.A.G.E - Introduction - Thomas Barlow (The main website is still available here, reloaded by a concerned citizen, and adding to articles and studies).

- more to come


Review for Elli Lestes catalog

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Review for Sam Lloyd catalog

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