FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This room has one thousand doors and an abandoned light booth for a ceiling
A solo exhibition of new works by Grant Barnhart
10.15.11 - 11.12.11
Opening Reception 10.15.11 (6-8 pm)
AMBACH & RICE is thrilled to announce This room has one thousand doors and an abandoned light booth for a ceiling, a solo exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by New York based artist Grant Barnhart. The occasion marks the artist’s second solo show with the gallery.
Barnhart’s dispersive installation of painting and precarious ceramic totems explores the nature of displacement and impermanence. A signature style is eschewed in favor of an inverted index of modernist motifs and Eastern philosophical vernaculars. Elements of Expressionism and Surrealism are contrasted with still lifes depicting the artist’s studio production in flux. Within these liminal sites, props, sculptures and paintings are cast to evoke and animate the human psyche. Paintings are unceremoniously leaned and stacked amidst asymmetrical arrangements of sculpture, furniture and detritus. These luminous environments function as psychological portraits where the artist endeavors to cast the ego aside.
Barnhart adopts a labor-intensive interdisciplinary practice that encompasses photography, sculpture, found objects and lighting to manifest source material for his paintings and sculptures. Each work requires two to six weeks of preparation, research and production. The original artworks included in these vignettes are destroyed or recycled after photographic reference is captured, survived only by their partial and often compromised depiction in the final compositions. This process relinquishes attachment in an aim to challenge the supremacy of objecthood. These modern day memento moris undermine the sanctity of painting while questioning notions of the artist as autonomous agent.
Ceramic sculptures and abstract paintings negate the pragmatic and multi-tiered approach of the environmental paintings in favor of a more intuitive approach. Abstractions are animated by fluid gestures that convey a web of biological and organic elements that struggle for position within the dense compositions. Throughout these works Barnhart furtively positions the mind’s eye as a reoccurring motif to exemplify the suffering incurred when one experiences life through the alienating lens of the of the past and future. The persistent anxiety present in the paintings is further reinforced within Barnhart’s menacing ceramic towers. Asymmetrical stacks of forms reminiscent of bones or crude tools balance perilously upon pedestals. Together paintings and sculptures comprise an installation that suggests an imminent collapse of history and identity, a snake consuming its own tail, a prolific surrender that ultimately ends in emancipation.
Grant Barnhart was born in 1978 in Topeka, Kansas. He received his BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus Ohio. In 2008 he was awarded an Artist Trust Fellowship, Seattle WA and was recently shortlisted for the Henry Art Gallery Brink Award. Recent exhibitions include Between my head and my hand, there is always the face of death. (group) curated by Kristan Kennedy at Feldman Gallery, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR and A Red Thing Shutters Shut | A White Closet Moth is not a Queen (solo) art forum berlin, Berlin, Germany. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
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