Full Spectrum Dominance
Sam Lee Gallery is pleased to present Full Spectrum Dominance, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Chris Barnard. This exhibition opens January 30 and closes March 13, 2010; the gallery will host a reception for the artist on Saturday, January 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. Full Spectrum Dominance marks Barnard’s first solo show at the gallery.
Chris Barnard’s Full Spectrum Dominance — a subversive reference to the strategic United States military doctrine Joint Vision 2020 – features large-scale, oil on canvases that examine connections between landscape painting and contemporary socio-political concerns. Challenging this US military dogma, which calls for total armed supremacy in space, sea, land, air and information, Barnard’s work critiques the country’s ongoing ideology for power and military expansion by focusing on ideas of authority, imperialism, and environmental degradation.
Barnard, addressing these conceptual concerns, employs different methods of representations in his works: from tightly rendered areas to loosely painted surfaces, and from saturated colors to inverted perspectives. In his 2009-2010 painting Tiles (Source of Friction: Frailties of machines and information), the artist depicts a partially visible yet ambiguous grid-like construction that is floating amid a color field of blue, pink and brown, creating visual elements that appear familiar but not immediately identifiable. The position of the lattice disorients the viewer by offering a nebulous point of view. Is the patterned sheet a landscape viewed from the sky or a menacing, aerospace structure flipped sideways in space?
The use of varied techniques within one work can also be seen in Barnard’s most recent painting Pile Going Critical (Source of Friction: Humans). Here, an ominous piece, measuring 54-by-64 inches, showcases a series of dark strips of horizontal blocks and a few bands of colorful paints, all of which become increasingly drippy towards the top of the canvas. Seen from a distance, this work resembles an apocalyptic infernal (its form referencing the world’s first nuclear reactor built for the Manhattan Project), foreshadowing a world where existence can be annihilated by a human-made smoldering mound of blackness.
Barnard, born 1977 in New York, currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and Bloomington, IN. The artist received his MFA from USC’s Roski School of Fine Art in 2005, and his BA from Yale University in 1999. He has had several solo and group exhibitions throughout California.