READING, PA.- The Reading Public Museum
is presenting an exhibition, Bill Barrett: Inquire Within, which features a selection of recent large-scale paintings and bronze sculptures by renowned artist Bill Barrett (America, b. 1934). The exhibition will be on view through December 6, 2015 in The Museums second floor American Gallery.
The Museum is already home to two of Barretts large-scale outdoor sculptures: Efflorescence II (1998) donated by Mrs. Shirley Boscov in 2006 and Lexeme Series IX (2006), a promised gift of the artist to The Museum. The works flank Wyomissing Creek in The Museums Arboretum.
Barrett is based in both New York City and Santa Fe where he maintains active studios. The artist, known primarily for his large outdoor public sculptures of bronze, aluminum, welded steel, and Carrara marble, began to paint in the 1990s, newly inspired by the richness of the landscape in New Mexico. Barrett has acknowledged that he owes a debt to the early abstractions of Wassily Kandinsky, as well as to the biomorphic imagery of Surrealist painters such as Joan Miró, Roberto Matta, and especially Arshile Gorky.
By the late 1990s, Barretts painted compositions became more animated, with large gestural forms dominating and flattening the pictorial space to some extent, therein revealing a closer kinship with the late paintings of Willem de Kooning. Yet unlike de Kooning's painted gestures, Barrett's markings are whimsical and cartoonlike. Rather than appear gravitationally anchored, these joyful forms seem to float within sections of a boundless universe.
Bill Barrett earned an MFA at the University of Michigan and taught at the Eastern Michigan University, the Cleveland Institute of Art, SUNY, New Paltz and Queens College, and Columbia University. He is represented in the collections of Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, New Jersey; Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe; Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia; The Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, Virginia; Iowa State University in Ames at the Christian Peterson Art Museum; Michigan State University in East Lansing; Guild Hall Museum of Art, East Hampton, New York; Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida; Oklahoma Museum of Art, Oklahoma City; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York; Rice University, Houston, Texas; Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, Hamilton, Ohio; Stony Brook University, New York; University of Hartford, Connecticut; University of Michigan School of Engineering, School of Social Work and School of Dentistry; The Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open Air Museum, Tokyo, Japan. Barrett has had more than fifty gallery exhibitions over the past forty years in major U.S. cities coast to coast, as well as Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Japan.