In our upstairs print gallery we are currently showing and exhibition of work by Michael Barnes. The show will be on through June 10.
Michael Barnes creates intricately drawn, complex lithographs in earthy tones. The work often portrays solitary ﬁgures that exist within vacuous environments. The depicted protagonists display a quiet sense of resignation or despair while exterior elements agitate their predicament. He describes his work as focused, “directly on human nature...The strange hybrid and mutated creatures...are domesticated beyond recognition and beyond any level or self-identity or function.”
Barnes taps into his subconscious by doodling. He doodles a lot - when relaxing, when bored, when at an impasse in the studio, in faculty meetings. These doodles are worked up into detailed drawings that fill numerous sketchbooks. The drawings become a collection of disparate ideas that take form as nonsensical compositions. Passing thoughts, overheard conversation, and random objects that the artist finds interesting are woven into improbable narratives that document the absurdity of the human condition.
The act of translating these abnormal scenes is deliberately vague, leaving the viewer the task creating meaning. There is no key or cheat sheet, because there is none in reality with each of us has a different perception of the environments that shape us. His creatures are trapped and anonymous, left to their own devices in an unfamiliar world.