RARE is pleased to announce the new exhibition by Donovan Barrow, entitled Corrugation. Barrow’s approach to making his paintings and sculpture embraces the innovation and failure of iconic architecture of the 20th century. He creates cardboard replica models of the structures, disfigures the models, and translates the compositions to canvas using enamel spray paints. Barrow also incorporates other historical elements like Baroque chiaroscuro, the expansive space of the Hudson River School landscapes, and the analytic color contrasts of the Op-Art movement. Although the subjects become fractured through manipulation and these historically based filters, the disfigured remnants of architectural icons like Falling Water and Villa Savoie are discernible if only re-envisioned.
Barrow’s paintings are executed through a complex process of masking and layering enamel spray paints (a nod to vandalism) on canvas. His inclusion of marks left on the canvas by debris scattered in the painting process highlights the physicality of the works. It acts as an attempt to recover lost information of the studio process and embraces chance as an aesthetic choice critical to contemporary discourse.
For the artist, the cardboard models always have lent themselves to the idea of modern architecture’s decay both literally and metaphorically. Two of them are on display in their nearly ruined states. Through these models Barrow makes an apparent connection to the dichotomy of the high and low found within the framework of modern architecture. One model is left “as is,” displaying the low-end medium of cardboard. The other is gilded in copper leaf transforming into a gem-like object imitating a high-end collectible. Barrow’s work reflects a cyclical process of creation and destruction as the architectural elements are brought back together, rearranged, and reconstructed.