Magazine article Artforum International

Scott Barber: McKinney Avenue Contemporary/Barry Whistler Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

Scott Barber: McKinney Avenue Contemporary/Barry Whistler Gallery

Article excerpt

Painter Scott Barber, who died last year of complications following a bone marrow transplant, was recently the subject of two concurrent shows in Dallas. McKinney Avenue Contemporary (known locally as the MAC) presented a survey of works spanning the last decade of his life, while across town, Barry Whistler Gallery exhibited a suite of twenty-six acrylics on paper made between 2003 and 2005.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

At the MAC, it was possible to trace Barber's development through his experimentation with materials to his realization of a refined, idiosyncratic visual language. Works from the 1990s such as Numb Trust 1, 1998, are distinguished by systems of amorphous globules that hover somewhere between biomorphic abstractions and deconstructed stills from TV cartoons. In their deceptively simple compositions, such works play a witty game with modernist aesthetics, melding painterly formalism with the flatness of a video screen (Barber's paintings have at least as much in common with the aesthetics of industrial video imaging as they do with Greenbergian formalism). The old avant-garde here meets contemporary kitsch in a set of observations about the phenomenological differences between looking into pictorial space and looking at a surface. Pursuing such investigations, Barber turned away from traditional oil paint and canvas in favor of synthetics like urethane and polyfiber, ultimately settling on honeycomb aluminum, an impermeable support that emphasizes his primary concentration on surface.

In 2000, Barber began to employ photographic sources for his paintings, particularly images of nebulae and solar flares, and photomicrographs of cancer cells. By scanning and digitally manipulating these finds--intentionally committing basic Photoshop "errors" in order to flatten out any hint of chiaroscuro--he clothed them in a gorgeous array of false colors and enhanced their contours, finally copying enlarged versions onto aluminum panels. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.