Beyond the Limits

Beyond the Limits: The Believer

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For this edition of Beyond the Limits I’ll be talking about the painting entitled, The Believer. Once again I can’t stress enough how Clive’s artwork lets the viewer  become a part of it. You’ll probably get sick of me saying that, but it’s the truth. I’ve never looked at any other art and felt the same way.

Now don’t get me wrong there are plenty of great artists that have come and gone over the centuries that I admire, and I’m sure a lot of them have probably inspired Clive as well, but for me Barker has this special way of making you look at the image from a variety of different angles. Maybe it’s the questions he asks during the creative process that I’m able to relate to that makes the difference? I really don’t know, but all I can say is that his art has had a profound effect on me.


The image of The Believer is another fascinating study by Barker of the human condition. When I was done analyzing this piece I felt a great deal of guilt from the person shown in the painting. Why? Maybe he’s holding a secret from someone he really cares about? Maybe he killed someone? Or maybe he’s realized that he’s wasted his life and feels there’s no way to fix it? Any of these observations can work. The stories that can be found here are limitless.

My personal take on The Believer is that the person in this painting feels guilty because he can’t live up to the expectations of what others want him to be. He’s the black sheep of his tribe and no matter how hard he tries to please them he will never live up to what they want. They bring this to his attention constantly which in turn makes him feel guilty. The bondage device he’s being held in with the eye attached to it is a constant reminder of what they expect him to be. This is an individual that’s on the brink of losing it and if he doesn’t get away from the people that are ruining his life soon he’s either going to kill himself or them.

I related to this painting a lot on a personal level as well. I’ve known people that have been exiled from their families for being different and it’s really sad. It’s tough seeing someone you care about go through such emotional pain to try and get the love and acceptance from the very people that brought them into this world.

Sadly, sometimes families can be your worst enemy.