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Barber, Daniel

oil painting
  Website: Dan Barber's website  

I have always been irrepressibly and instinctively drawn to representations of the human figure. Images of the body seem the most vital and enduring of all subjects in art and serve profoundly as means to examine and penetrate the human condition. Even under the tremendous weight of historical precedent this psychological probing continues to be the focus of my paintings. It is not merely the image, however, that intrigues, but the way in which the paint is put down. For me representation is never a straightforward affair, never a smooth continuum from model through artist to canvas. Paintings that bear evidence of changes-of-mind, paths not followed, and ill-defined contours with occasional stamps of solidity seem palpably familiar, akin as they are to how we all make decisions and take actions in our reall lives as well as to how we define the thing we call selff.

I consider painting to be a struggle. Itts in the evidence of this struggle both existential and metaphysical that art lies. The conflict that motivates me is, to codify it, trifold. The first impulse is a particular loyalty to disegno esterno, that is, to the actual appearance of things as I perceive them. The second is disegno interno, a jazz-like, vaguely improvisational sensitivity to the logic of the picture itself. The final concern is with a tertium quid my own psyche as organizer, mediator and fouler of experience what I know and donnt, what I see and donnt, my desires, fears, and idiosyncratic efforts at making some sense of the world through imagery and metaphor. Inherent in my attempt to juggle these concerns is enormous tension that impregnates the so-called formal elements of painting and births the potential for a basely primal, ineffably communicative object.

The viability of painting, for me, depends on all of these concerns representational, aesthetic, and psychological and on all of their curious and complex admixtures. Figurative painting, in all of its protean forms and processes, continues to be the most direct and difficult way to embody experience and perhaps to communicate some sense of my existence to others.

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