NEWPORT, R.I. – Residing in the territory between opposites can be tense and troubling. These uncomfortable but compelling feelings are exactly where New York artist Peter Barrett wants to push viewers of his upcoming exhibit, “Objects.”
Barrett’s paintings and large wall installations will be featured in the Dorrance H. Hamilton Gallery Oct. 20 through Nov. 15. An artist’s opening reception will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 5-7 p.m. at the Gallery, located in the Antone Academic Center on Lawrence Avenue.
The public is welcome to the reception and the exhibit. Hamilton Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 2-4 p.m. Sunday.
Combining the influences of Op and Minimalism, Barrett’s work explores territories between high and low, sacred geometry and pop-culture psychedelia, organic and geometric patterns in nature, and tantric art and computer art.
“My paintings inhabit an area between all these others, while belonging to none of them and referencing all of them,” Barrett says. “I try to create a tension in my work as to where it belongs in the painting/sculpture/installation continuum.”
Barrett’s large wall installations represent the most ambitious manifestations of this idea to date, and become almost architectural. The relief paintings contrast the geometry of the patterns with biomorphic contours and this relation of surface to object gives them a strong presence, as well as pushing painting into “a sort of 2.5 dimensional space,” he says.
When viewed from a distance, Barrett’s paintings look as if they are computer generated, but are clearly hand painted when seen up close. They are meant to seduce the sense of vision and at the same time reveal its limitations.
“All these pieces illustrate my belief that beauty can be radical and subversive, and that the dialogue my works create between disparate image traditions finds a mode of expression which contains elements of these ideas while still acting as open-ended metaphor which viewers can interpret individually.
Barrett was trained in the fine arts at Rhode Island School of Design, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree. He also has a master of fine arts degree in painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
For more information on this exhibit or about Hamilton Gallery, call (401) 341-2981.