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Bill Barrett 2012

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Barrett’s sculptures of fabricated aluminum, bronze or steel address the interplay between positive and negative space with grace, elegance and exquisite balance. His works call to mind the fluid effortlessness of calligraphic strokes and betray a positivism to which many viewers feel drawn.

Text of Bill Barrett 2012

  • BillBarrett DNA

    R A I LYA R D

  • LewAllenGalleries

    cover: DNA 2, 2012, fabricated bronze, 46.5 x 42 x 30



    Railyard: 1613 Paseo De Peralta | Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 | tel 505.988.3250 Downtown: 125 West Palace Avenue | Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 | tel 505.988.8997

    www.lewallengalleries.com | [email protected]

  • Bill Barrett: DNA


    Over the course of an evolving artistic career, Bill Barrett has explored the interplay between positive and negative space with grace, elegance, and exquisite balance. Fluidity, celebration, and effortlessness coexist with form, line, color, and content in his sculptures and paintings. To invoke something greater than aesthetic pleasure in his viewer, an artist must strive to establish a relationship with him; not only must a work appeal to the viewers inner self, to his

    Cupid in Training, 2011, oil on canvas, 60 x 66

    moods and ideas, but the viewer must also feel encouraged to understand the artists practice and process. As Barrett is quick to aver, Merely being beautiful or creative doesnt make art greatart can be a life-giving force enriching ones senses and refreshing ones visions. For Barrett: Important sculptures are sculptures the public can live with, grow with,

  • 3and keep going back to physically, mentally, and emotionally.

    The work of Rodin and Henry Moore provided some of Barretts early inspiration. As a student he aspired to the satisfying freedom of abstract expressionism, but in the late 1950s, when he became a sculptor, welding and fabricating metal attracted him. The full evolution of Barretts artistic creation reveals that several formal ideas recur: the arch, the bridge, and the virile, celebratory thrust of Don Quixotes lance. Underlying it all is the grand theme of Barretts search for an almost impossible synthesis between the tactile process of free modeling, the expressive gesture, and the craft of welding sheets of metal. It took a while for me to truly control the metal. It evolved, says Barrett.

    Three major innovations in sculpture in the first third of the twentieth century, all related and all associated with Picasso, were the wellsprings of the tradition within which Bill Barrett would work: pure abstraction, the technique of construction, and the welding of metal. A further influence on Barretts work was surrealism, which also had its origins in the first third of the century, and to which Picasso also contributed.

    [In 1958] Bill Barrett learned to weld at the University of Michigan with an oxyacetylene torch. The process is very much like gluing two pieces of wood together, except that molten metal plays the role of the glue. To weld two pieces of iron, the welder first places them in contact, usually with clamps. Wearing dark goggles, with one hand he holds the torch, oscillating the flame back and forth across the joint until the metal becomes red hot and then melts...with his other hand he touches the end of a thin welding rod, made of the same material, into the puddle. Adding material in this way, he pushes the puddle along the seam. As the puddle of molten metal enters the seam and cools behind the moving torch, the weld is created. In some cases, Barrett uses a welding rod containing a flux, a metal with a lower melting point, to facilitate the process.

    Creating free-flowing calligraphic images in bronze is no mean feat and Barretts long-time sculpture tool, the welding torch, is far removed from the calligraphers brush. The technique used by most fabricated metal sculptors, making models out of thin metal sheet, wood, or cardboard, is unsatisfactory for Barrett. He believes such materials impose an inhibiting rigidity on the creative process. Not so molten wax, however, whose feel and malleability had always appealed to the sculptor. The power of the calligraphic gesture derives from

    two qualities. One is the immediacy of the drawing, the hand responding to both the minds intent and to the graceful continuity of a cursive line. But calligraphys primary intent is to convey meaning. Even when adopted by an artist such as Jackson Pollock, it retains some of that referential quality, a suggestion of cryptic communication. For Barrett, both aspects are important.

    In the early 1990s, stimulated by the colors and light of New Mexico, Barrett took up the paintbrush for the first time since his student days. Up to that point he had always drawn, but only in the service of his sculpture. Painting became a constant complement to his sculpture. The sources of Barretts painting are the masters of surrealism: Arp, Matta, and Gorky, and above all, his fathers teacher, Fernand Lger. The light of New Mexico, represented by combinations of Mediterranean bright yellows against lollipop reds; and flat French blues between lavenders and lime greens, also infuses his canvases. But the ultimate source of these paintings of the early nineties is Barretts positive nature. Painting became of great importance to Barrett in the 1990s. His work on canvas not only provided an independent outlet for his creativity, but also facilitated the definition of calligraphic and surrealistic images that appear in his sculpture. His ideas and creative energy often exceed the bounds of a single canvas so he works on three or four paintings at once.

    It is the combination of emotional depth with a graceful, joyful expansiveness that accounts for much of the complexity and power of Barretts recent work. Words may illuminate these works, but only dimly. Ultimately they must be welcomed as the untranslatable products of human artistic creativity, to be confronted and prized in a domain that they themselves help to define.

    -Excerpted from Phillip F. Palmedo, Bill Barrett: Evolution of a Sculptor, 2003, New York: Hudson Hills Press

    My sculptures are vehicles through which my humanity communicates with the viewers. In my artwork, I am always striving to incorporate beauty of perfection and emotion, using uplifting forms towards harmony and assertiveness and how they relate to each other. In each new work of art, I am in pursuit of a certain life-spark that I might not have achieved in a previous sculpture or painting.

    -Bill Barrett, excerpted from the exhibition catalog for Polyphonic Abstraction: Paintings and Maquettes by Bill Barret, January

  • 412 August 2, 2010, Christian Petersen Art Museum, Iowa State University.

    Best known for his large public sculptures of welded steel, aluminum, and bronze, Bill Barrett also reveals himself as a prolific, vigorous painter. [Barretts paintings] display a multitude of influences from the classic modern tradition, especially the broken fragments of Cubist composition, the dream-like floating forms of Surrealist abstraction, and the swirling calligraphic energy of Abstract Expressionism. Visible here too are shapes which invoke the American Western landscapemountains and desertsand the Eastern cityscape of towering buildings and manic traffic.Arshile Gorky is Barretts most obvious inspiration among the old masters of modern painting. Gorky took the biomorphs of the Surrealistsundefined organic blobs meant to evoke mysterious life-forms from the Freudian unconsciousand turned them into wild things.

    Barrett keeps the spirit of frolic inherited from Gorkys amoebas, but his biomorphic abstractions are painted with a playful and humorous touch, muppets not monsters from the Id, projecting Barretts own sense of humor and cheerful character, as well as an optimistic attitude we can trace to his Midwestern upbringing.

    In any conversation with Barrett, the theme of dance comes up: he is a great fan of the classical ballet as well as modernist movements made famous by Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham. His compositions, both 3-D and 2-D, suggest individuals and partners engaged in swinging, leaping, kicking, and reaching out and up. With their exuberant choreography, Barretts painting and sculptures summon us to the ecstasy of motion.

    -Dr. John Cunnally, Associate Professor Art History, Iowa State University; excerpted from the exhibition catalog for Polyphonic Abstraction: Paintings and Maquettes by Bill Barrett, January 12 August 2, 2010, Christian Petersen Art Museum, Iowa State University.

  • 5Muskateer, 2010,fabricated bronze, 84 x 84 x 52

  • 6Energia, 2011,fabricated bronze, 44 x 33 x 24

  • 7DNA 3 (large), 2012,cast bronze, 47 x 34 x 14

  • 8Pinnacle II, 2008,fabricated bronze, 36 x 21 x 19

  • 9Pinnacle V, 2008,fabricated bronze, 120 x 84 x 60

  • 10

    Boogie Woogie 1, 2008,cast bronze, 27 x 21 x 15

  • 11

    African, 2008,fabricated bronze, 34.5 x 14 x 21

  • 12

    DNA 7, 2012,cast bronze, 14 x 9 x 9

  • 13

    DNA 6, 2012,cast bronze, 14.5 x 12 x 11

  • 14

    Pinnacle XIX, 2009,cast bronze, 23 x 14 x 12

  • 15

    Untitled Pinnacle Study, 2012,cast bronze, 14.75 x 7 x 9

  • 16

    DNA Model 2, 2011,cast bronze, 15.5 x 14 x 10

  • 17

    DNA Model 5, 2011,cast bronze, 14.5 x 14.5 x 6

  • 18

    DNA Model 1, 2011,cast bronze, 17 x 15.5 x 9

  • 19

    Eastern Memories 1, 1995,cast bronze, 18.5 x 17 x 10

  • 20

    DNA 8, 2012,cast bronze, 14 x 12 x 6

  • 21

    DNA 3, 2012,cast bronze, 23.5 x 17 x 7

  • 22

    DNA Patterns II, 2012,oil on canvas, 84 x 63

  • 23

    Cupids Transgressions, 2011,oil on canvas, 60 x 60

  • 24

    Captain Marvel, 2011,oil on canvas, 72 x 96

  • 25

    Kid Marvel, 2011,oil on canvas, 96 x 72

  • 26

    DNA Patterns III, 2012,oil on canvas, 84 x 63

  • 27

    Energia 4, 2008-10,oil on canvas, 48 x 36

  • 28

    Energia 5, 2008-10,oil on canvas, 60 x 48

  • 29

    Energia 6, 2008-10,oil on canvas, 48 x 36

  • 30

    Pinnacle Drawing #1, 2007,colored pencil on paper, 47 x 34

  • 31

    Pinnacle Drawing #2, 2007,colored pencil on paper, 47 x 34

  • 32

    Pinnacle Drawing #3, 2007,colored pencil on paper, 47 x 34

  • 33

    Pinnacle Drawing #7, 2007,colored pencil on paper, 47 x 34

  • 34

    SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS:2012 Bill Barrett, DNA, LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM2012 Bill Barrett, Sculpture and Paintings, Elaine Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, FL2011 Bill Barrett, Paintings and Sculptures, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY 2010 Polyphonics, Iowa State University, Christian Petersen Art Museum, Ames, IA Synchronicities, Kouros Gallery, New York, NY2008-09 Exquisite Balance, Iowa State University, Ames, IA2008 Drawing Exhibition, Michigan State University, College of Arts and Letters, Kresge Art Center, East Lansing, MI LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM Kouros Gallery, New York, NY2007 Bentley Projects, Phoenix, AZ2006 Kouros Gallery, New York, NY2005 LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM2004 Elaine Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, FL2002 Century Association, New York, NY Ira Wolk Gallery, St. Helena, CA1982-05 DeGraaf Fine Art, Saugatuck, MI 2001 McCormick Works of Art, Chicago, IL Kouros Gallery, New York, NY Cline Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM 2000 Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ J. J. Brookings Gallery, San Francisco, CA1999 Harris Gallery, Houston, TX1998 J. J. Brookings Gallery, San Francisco, CA199798 Nardin Gallery, New York, NY1996 Kouros Gallery, New York, NY Cline Fine Art Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 1995 Mongerson-Wunderlich Gallery, Chicago, IL Galerie Roswitha Benkert, Zurich1994 Kouros Gallery, New York, NY1993 Cline Fine Art Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 1990 Galerie Roswitha Benkert, Zurich Shidoni Contemporary Gallery, Tesuque, NM1986 Kouros Gallery, New York, NY Galerie Roswitha Benkert, Zurich198586 Bellevue Hospital Sculpture Garden (outdoor), New York, NY1985 Kouros Gallery, New York, NY1983 Sculpture Center, New York, NY

    197677 Brooklyn Borough Hall (outdoor show), Brooklyn, NY1976 City University of New York, Graduate Mall, New York, NY1975 County Executive Buildings, (outdoor show) White Plains, NY1974 Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, Long Island, NY Katonah Art Gallery, Katonah, New York, NY1973 James Yu Gallery, New York, NY1972 Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY1971 Lantern Gallery, Ann Arbor, MI1970 Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY1969 Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY 10 Downtown Show, New York, NY1967 Jason Gallery, New York, NY1966 Kalamazoo Art Center, Kalamazoo, MI1965 Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI1964 Hanamura Galleries, Detroit, MI

    SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS:2012 Comune di Pontedera, Pontedera, Italy 2011 Friends of Finn Square in Tribeca, City of New York and NYC Parks and Recreation Department present, 9/11 Memorial Sculpture Commemorating 10th Anniversary2009 20 Bildhauer-20Skulpturen, Villa Haiss Museum, Zell am Harmersback, Germany2007 Los Angeles Art Show (exhibited by LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM) at Barker Hangar, Santa Monica, CA2005 U.S. Embassy Residence in Vatican City, The Holy See 2004 LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM2003 Elaine Baker Gallery, Boca Raton, FL LewAllen Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM Eckert Fine Art Gallery, Naples, FL2002 Tenth Anniversary Invitational, Grounds For Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ2001 Ford Park Sculpture Exhibition, Art in Public Places Program, Vail, CO 30th Anniversary Invitational Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, Shidoni Gallery, Tesuque, NM2000 Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM Sculpture 2000 International, New London, CT ALVA Gallery, New London, CT Euro Galleries, Minneapolis200019 McCormick Works of Art, Navy Pier Expo, Chicago, IL

    Bill Barrett Born: 1934, Los Angeles, CAEducation: B.S. and M.S. in Design, M.F.A., University of Michigan

  • 1999 Benson Gallery, East Hampton, NY The Sculpture Center, Cleveland, OH199599 Quietude Garden Gallery, East Brunswick, NJ199294, 97-98 Navy Pier Exhibition, Chicago, IL1998 Albright College Center For The Arts, Freedman Gallery, Reading, PA 1997 Thomas McCormick Works of Art, Chicago, IL199297 Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, College of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM 1996 Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ Friends of Contemporary Art, Lewallen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM Armory Show, Kouros Gallery, NY Bologna-Landi Gallery, East Hampton, NY199596 Outdoor Installation, West Broadway and Varick Streets, New York, NY1995 Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, TN Mongerson-Wunderlich Gallery, Chicago, IL La Quinta Sculpture Garden, La Quinta, CA1994 Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM Turner-Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe, NM Benkert Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland Philadelphia Expo, Philadelphia, PA198894 Eve Mannes Gallery, Atlanta, GA1992 Kyoto Gallery, Kyoto, Japan199192 1st Alabama Biennial, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL1991 Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM KourosGallery,OutdoorSculptureGarden,Ridgefield,CT1990 Tokyo Expo, Nina Owen, Ltd., Chicago, IL1989-90 Sculpture Tour, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN1989 International Contemporary Art Fair, Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA Flat Iron Gallery, New York, NY Basel Expo, Basel, Switzerland Cavalier Gallery, Stamford, CT Food Center Sculpture Park at Hunts Point, Bronx, NY1988 Ruth Vared Gallery, Easthampton, NY The Romanek Sculpture Garden, Chicago, IL Hudson River Museum, Sculptors Guild, Yonkers, NY1987 Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY1984-87 Schulman Sculpture Garden, White Plains, NY1986 Guild Hall Museum, Easthampton, NY Shidoni Contemporary Gallery and Sculpture Garden,

    Tesuque, NM1984 Snug Harbor Museum, Staten Island, NY1983 Sid Deutsch Gallery, New York, NY1982-83 Phoenix Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, AZ1982 The Great Garden Sculpture Show, Sculptural Arts Museum, Atlanta, GA International Sculpture Conference, Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA1981 Botanical Gardens (outdoor show, Sculptors Guild), Bronx, NY1970-81 Sculpture Center, Sixty-Ninth Street, New York, NY1980 Sculpture Center, Sixty-Ninth Street, New York, NY AREA (outdoor show), Washington, DC197880 AREA (outdoor show), Wards Island, NY American Mission Building, United Nations, New York, NY1978 Lincoln Center, New York, NY Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, NY Alexander Milliken Gallery, New York, NY Foley Square (outdoor), New York, NY PS 1, Long Island City, NY Art Train, Michigan Art Train, Inc.1975 The Society of the Four Arts Sculpture Competition, New York Cultural Center, Columbus Circle, NY197375 Storm King Art Center, Sculpture in the Fields, Mountainville, NY1974 Large Outdoor Sculpture Show, Bach Festival, Bethlehem, PA1973-74 Sculpture III, Department of Cultural Affairs, World Trade Center, Pratt Institute and LaGuardia Airport, New York, NY1972 Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, NY1970 University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT1970 Whitney Museum Sculpture Annual, New York, NY1966 University of the South, Sewanee, TN1964 The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH TheBundyArtGallery,Waitsfield,VT1963 The San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA1959-63 The Detroit Institute of Arts Shows, Detroit, MI1959 Father/Son, Indiana Art Center, South Bend, IN

    MUSEUM AND UNIVERSITY COLLECTIONS:911 Memorial Museum, New York, NYAlbright College, Freedman Gallery, Reading, PAAlbuquerque Museum of Art, Albuquerque, NM


  • AldrichMuseumofArt,Ridgefield,CTAllan Houser Foundation, Permanent Collection, Santa Fe, NMBoca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OHEastern Michigan University Library, Ypsilanti, MIFine Arts Museum of Oklahoma City, OKGoddard Visual Art Center, Ardmore, OKGrounds for Sculpture Museum, Hamilton, NJGuild Hall Museum of Art, East Hampton, NYHarwood Museum of Art, Taos, NMHope College, Music School, Holland, MIThe Hyde Collection Art Museum, Glens Falls, NYIowa State University, Art on Campus Collection, Gerdin Building, College of Business, Ames, IAIowa State University, Art on Campus Model and Maquette Collection, Ames, IA Iowa State University, Department of Music and Theater, Ames, Iowa InternationalFoundationArtGallery,Sofia,BulgariaKnoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TNKresge Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MILas Vegas Museum of Art, Las Vegas, NVMercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NYMichigan State University, East Lansing, MIMitchell Wolfson New World Campus, Miami, FLMuseum of Outdoor Art, Englewood, ColoradoNeuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NYNorfolk Museum of Art, Norfolk, VAPyramid Hill, Sculpture Park and Museum, Hamilton, OHReading Museum, Reading, PARice University, Houston, TXRunnymede Sculpture Farm, San Francisco, CASanta Fe Museum of Fine Art, Santa Fe, NMScottsdale Center for the Arts, Scottsdale, AZStony Brook University, Louis and Beatrice Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative BiologyThe Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open Air Museum, Tokyo, JapanUniversity of Hartford, Hartford, CTUniversity of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MIUniversity of Michigan, School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, MIUniversity of Michigan, School of Engineering, Ann Arbor, MIUniversity of Michigan, School of Social Work, Ann Arbor, MIUniversity of Montana, Montana Museum of Art and Culture, Missoula, MT University of the South, Sewanee, TN

    University of Syracuse, Syracuse, NYVirginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA

    SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS:Ann Arbor City Hall, Ruby Church Memorial, Ann Arbor, MICity of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZCriminal Court Building, Hartford, CTNew York City, New Dorp High School, Staten Island, NYNyack Plaza Mall, Nyack, NYPennington Park, Patterson, NJ

    SELECTED PRIVATE COLLECTIONS:1615 L. Street, Washington, DC2001 K. Street, Washington, DCBelz Enterprises, Memphis, TNBest Products Corporation, Richmond, VABishop Ranch, San Ramon, CABrandywine Realty and Trust, Austin, TXThe Corinthian Building, New York, NYDell Corporation, Austin, TXEighty One Mainstreet Associates, White Plains, NYGarden Communities, La Jolla, CAHitachi Corporation, Kyushu Plant, Kanda, JapanJade Pig Corporation, Gaslight Village, Grand Rapids, MILa Jolla Crossroads, La Jolla, CALincoln National Life Insurance Company Foundation, Fort Wayne, INLumiere Place Casino and Hotel, A Four Seasons Hotel, St. Louis, MONeiman-Marcus, Dallas, TXPacificEnterprises,LawLibrary,LosAngeles,CAPalazzo Hotel Resort Casino, Las Vegas, NVPeabody Hotel, Little Rock, AR (Belz Enterprises, Memphis, TN)Portman Corporation, Northpark Town Center, Atlanta, GARockefeller Realty Corporation, #3 Embarcadero West, San Francisco, CASaint Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe, NMSchulman Realty Group, White Plains, NY Sempra Energy International, San Diego, CATower Insurance Group, New York, NYTrammell-Crow, Paramount, CAValley National Bank, Phoenix, AZWest Group, One Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, CA

    AWARDS:1994 The Audubon Artists Silver Medal of Honor for Sculpture, NY


  • 1992 The Audubon Artists Chaim Gross Foundation Award for Sculpture, NY1990 The Audubon Artists Gold Medal of Honor for Sculpture, NY1988 Fiftieth Annual Guild Hall Artist Members Exhibition, Best Sculpture Award, East Hampton, NY1987 Hakone Open-Air Museum Award, Japan1986 The R.S. Reynolds Memorial Award1965 Kalamazoo Area Art Exhibition/Art Center 1965-1966, Second Annual Purchase, Kalamazoo, MI Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti Merit Award, Ypsilanti, MI1964 Forty-sixth Annual Exhibition of Works by Artists and Craftsman of the Western Reserve, Jury Mention, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH Awarded an exhibition at the Kalamazoo Art Center, Kalamazoo, MI1962 Annual North Dakota Exhibition Prize in Sculpture, ND Detroit Institute of Arts, Lewis Prize for Outstanding Work by a Michigan Teacher, Detroit, MI1961 Western Michigan Art Gallery Award for Sculpture, Grand Rapids, MI1960 Albert Kahn and Associates Award, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI1958 Tri Kappa Award, First Prize Sculpture, Fort Wayne Art Museum, Fort Wayne, IN


  • Railyard: 1613 Paseo De Peralta | Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 | tel 505.988.3250 Downtown: 125 West Palace Avenue | Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 | tel 505.988.8997

    www.lewallengalleries.com | [email protected]