24 June 2011

Visual Art: James Barsness at Arthur Roger Gallery

     This post-modern body of work utilizes traditional elements of Christianity, Buddhism and folklore to face contemporary issues of obscenity, feminism, cultural trends and consumerism.  "My art partly has to do with my crackpot ideas about life and living," says Barsness in an interview with Hard Press Editions. "I'm interested in how groups of people interact in a continuous environment like a town. It's primarily about the suppression of our natural interests for the good of the whole. I think it's that moment of suppression that initiates much of our creative energy."  
   The statement certainly rings true for this exhibit.  The imagery and themes are wildly creative, playful, and whimsical.  In his artist statement, Barsness says that his complex compositions are influenced by Breughel, Bosch, R.J. Crumb, Tibetan sacred painting and the artistic traditions of Thailand, India and Ireland.
    These eight paintings featured at Arthur Roger Gallery
last month have the similar formal components of highly stylized figure treatment and nature motif. Barsness uses intricate dot patterns and lines to create elaborate geometric forms that are not necessarily visible until the viewer gets close. These patterns and the wide color palette compose grotesque, animalistic figures that explore human behavior and desires in terms of contemporary values of pop culture and consumerism. The strongest part of this exhibit is Barsness’ captivating style; the ornate details absorb and captivate.
-Article by Emily Yonker
-Photos from Arthurrogergallery.com on 6/24/11

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