Review of Scott Barber Selected Works 1995-2005

Painting by Scott Barber title, medium, size, date unknownScott Barber Selected Works 1995-2005 by Scott Barber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished rereading the two essays in this exhibition catalog of the work of Scott Barber, a Dallas painter whose work I first saw — and fell in love with — at the Galveston Arts Center in late 2006 (a posthumous exhibit of the artist who died in 2005 at the young age of 42). I found the essay titled “Rational Exuberance” by Charissa N. Terranova to be quite an interesting and illuminating essay on Barber’s work.

She begins with a long and interesting full paragraph exploring the meaning of flatness. She explores how to understand the flatness in Barber’s work through it’s relation to the flatness in modernism as described by Clement Greenberg, the flat surface of Andy Warhol, and the late 20th century “superflat” of Japanese culture as founded by Takashi Murakami.

Her writing is exquisite. Take this phrase, for example: “…a more metaphorical type of flatness in the work of Andy Warhol, where meaning that lies within gives way to significance sliding along surfaces of a flamboyant and raucous Teflon consumer culture…”

This is one of those essays that truly helps one to understand and appreciate an artist’s work in all its lovely complexity.

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I have also come to the conclusion that the square is a human invention, which makes it sympathetic to me. Because you don’t see it in nature. As we do not see squares in nature, I thought that it is man-made. But I have corrected myself. Because squares exist in salt crystals, our daily salt. We know this because we can see it in the microscope

— Josef Albers
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