Monday, January 23, 2017

Second Look: Will Barnet

The Three Brothers, 1964

Will Barnet is one of those painters I have known of since I can remember but I didn't always appreciate.  I didn't like his work much in school and the irony is now I show him to students and they don't really see the exquisiteness either.  But I think he is a real master.  

A lot of times the term 'wooden' is negatively used in critiques of figurative work that doesn't have life or emotion.  Barnet's figures are certainly wooden but they are full of life and emotion.  He is able to simultaneously hold the most simplified, flat, closed shape to stand for a figure and capture a feeling in their pose, a mood in the face.  He uses shape and composition to add that gravity and the simplicity is like a poem.  

Nothing is in excess, everything is consciously decided on.


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