In RARE PLUS, Nic Rad presents a new series of mixed media works entitled Barry and the Universe. The show’s title references both the continuous bombardment of non-stop 24-hour news networks, talk radio shows, and podcasts to which the artist subjects himself while working in his studio as well as the metaphorical clichés embodied in notions of beauty, world conflict, and the mythical rise and fall of childhood idols like Barry Bonds. Feeling vain and helpless in making “political art,” Rad instead finds his influences in Géricault, Beckmann, and Goya, whose “conflict” paintings are more like the desperate pleas of humanity rather than political fodder. The artist develops his narratives from abstract marks and cartoons them toward clarity to create epics that imagine the role of humans in the universe as volatile, mystical, and consuming. As they battle for ethical, logical, moral, and physical identity, they seem caught up in the debate over group dynamics and social systems, overwhelmed by external forces beyond their control or comprehension.