In his second solo show at RARE, Donovan Barrow has expanded upon his earlier paintings that embraced the innovation and failure of 20th century iconic architecture. His new work delves deeper into the psychology behind the ideals of modern architectural design by deconstructing it in a series of paintings that lend themselves more to the language of portraiture than to architecture. Barrow has leaped beyond the confines of a structured analysis in favor of a journey focusing freely on the inspiration behind design in a manner that can be explored further within the context of painting.
Starting with the construction of cardboard replicas of the Villa Savoye, Le Corbusier’s masterpiece located outside of Paris, Barrow embarks on a procedure where he disfigures the models, weatherizing and contorting them into new compositions. He then translates the models to paint, reinterpreting the architecture within the language of portraiture by employing a complex process of masking and layering acrylic spray paints on canvas.
Barrow’s palette is inspired by the Op Art movement, whose practitioners utilized a scheme of colors designed to optically accentuate the illusion of dimensionality through opposing hues. This sense of illusion is further emphasized by the artist’s practice of painting the disfigured models from various angles in the round. He counterbalances this effect by arranging the paintings into triptychs and diptychs – an approach intrinsic to the tradition of painting, thereby accentuating the re-occurring dichotomy between painting and architecture. ...
Born in 1976 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Barrow graduated with an MFA from Hunter College in 2005. His first one-person exhibition in New York, Corrugation, was held at RARE in 2007. He participated in a group exhibition, no [W]here, at Susan Hobbs Gallery in Toronto in 2006, and in 2007 his work was featured in a four-person show, A Postcard from the Volcano, at Galerie Suzanne Tarasiève in Paris. Barrow lives and works in New York City.