Eyes In Magazine – March 2012
The Fascinatingly Bizarre David Barnett
by Vivian Van Dijk
Whether through the literal combination of man and machine, as in “Workmen’s Circle”, which depicts a half-boy, half-robot riding a futuristic bicycle made from found sprockets, wheels and springs – the boy and the contraption have converged, blurring the line between man and machine – or in his modified pastel painted and penciled collage “In Your Face (book), a tongue in cheek look at the superficial aspects of today’s digital social networks, David Barnett prompts the viewer to participate in this timely dialogue.
Utilizing remnants of photographs from a discarded yearbook, we see behind each photo’s façade catching glimpses of the inner personality which is often hidden from behind composed portraits. In another example, Cyclopedia’, a meticulously created categorized list of traditional images – the bird and the Renaissance man – have been betrayed by technological elements.
These portraits may reveal a loss of soul in contemporary society or a character tethered to a machine unable to fly to the heavens. Suggesting that technology has become its own religion, we are left to worship machines instead of our traditional deities. Other works, such as “The Garden”, present traditional universal themes simultaneously; in this case Adam and Eve conjure the themes of creation and consequences of the human experience.
Barnett’s detailed, deftly executed works comment on the ongoing interplay between humanity and technology as well as evoke a Renaissance or Medieval aesthetic, with traditional portraiture and iconic imagery. “Recent Constructions and Collages” features two and three dimensional work and introduces a further development in Barnett’s vocabulary: two-and-a-half dimensional wall-mounted assemblages. Comprised of found objects and mixed media such as discarded medical instruments, photographic elements and ripped topography: Barnett combines these elements with mechanical parts.
Barnett has had solo exhibitions at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD, the Upstream Gallery, Dobbs Ferry, NY and the Brownstone Gallery, Brooklyn, NY Numerous group shows include Gallery Henoch, Allan Stone Gallery and the Armory show, all in New York, NY; Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; Westchester Arts Council, White Plains, NY: Futura Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden; Philipse Manor Hall Museum, Yonkers, NY among others. He has been profiled in the New York Times, Idea Magazine, and Print Magazine. Barnett has held teaching positions at Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, and the School of Visual Arts.
Denise Bibro Fine Art presents Recent Constructions and Collages, a solo exhibition of recent work by gallery artist David Barnett, on view March 1 through March 31, 2012.