Art Book Review: Clive Barker – Visions of Heaven and Hell
I wrote briefly about the relevance of Clive Barker in my life as an artist for my review of his older art book Clive Barker – Illustrator.
Visions of Heaven and Hell is the great yang to Illustrator’s yin. Whereas the latter book presented a rather intimate look into Barker’s thought process and delicate ink drawings, Visions of Heaven and Hell is an all-out debauchery of colorful visions, psychedelic and Ensor-esque crowds, expressionist portraits and giant canvases.
This is the best place to find a non-exhaustive but broad overview of Barker’s paintings, whether they were created to illustrate his books, to set a tone for his movies or for simple personal gratification (these categories overlap more often than not). In this respect it is a recommended and fairly inexpensive investment for hours of perusing his colorful characters and frescoes.
Because something has got to give, the qualiy of the binding itself is unfortunately the main downside of the book.
Firstly, the cover is made of a cheap, rugged texture that tries to pass as felt but feels kind of wrong. It might catch dirt quite easily, too.
Next, the paper is really thin and the edge of the book is coated in mock gold. What it means is that some pages are glued with each other at the extremities and the risk of damaging the paper is high. Fold-outs have bent corners even when bought new, and feel more like magazine paper. The quality of the image reproduction is very good, but it’s still a far stretch from the remarkable Imaginer series.
The text is once again provided by Mr Barker himself, and at the risk of repeating myself I still believe he is his best critic. He keeps an amused eye on his paintings and his process, and shares much of the narrative behind certain pictures using his talent as a writer. Every anecdote is a delight.
Visions of Heaven and Hell is a welcome addition to any discerning art book collection, and in a strange way the mediocre book binding allows a more relaxed experience. A decade ago I would have had have no qualms even taking some pages out to make posters.
Clive Barker – Visions of Heaven and Hell on Amazon
The books reviewed are from my personal collection and fully paid for.
- Posted by Paul Takahashi
- On May 18, 2020
- 0 Comments