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 Bill Barrett  (1934 - )

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Lived/Active: New York/California      Known for: photo construction sculpture, painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Bill Barrett
1934 (Los Angeles, California)
New York/California

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photo construction sculpture, painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Sculptor Bill Barrett was born in Los Angeles, California and studied at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he received both a B.S. and a M.S. in design, as well as an MFA.  A longtime resident of New York City, Barrett now divides his time between Santa Fe and New York.  His work has been widely shown in major museums and galleries coast to coast and in Switzerland and Japan.  In addition, many of his works are owned by both corporate and private collector.

Barrett works in three stages: A small bronze maquette, which the author Michael Brenson has described as "typically quirky, experimental, and figurative." The next stage involves blowing up the work into welded and polished aluminum. At this stage the sculpture is, as Brenson writes, "lighter now and closer in form and structure to Cubism and David Smith." Finally, Barrett creates more airy, and the effect is increasingly architectural . . . with a lightness and directness" (Michael Brenson, "The New York Times", 1985).

Barrett's approach to art is basically humanistic. "Art helps people understand themselves better," he says. "I come from an expressionist attitude about what art is for. It's an involvement, that of the artist with his art and that of the art with the viewer. It becomes a very intimate conversation among the three, which is not new. It's always been this way. (Personal interview, Valentine Riddell, Santa Fe, 1992)

Mark Sublette, Medicine Man Gallery, Inc.

Biography from LewAllen Galleries:
Bill Barrett, a sculptor, was born in Los Angeles, CA.  He earned a BS and an MS in Design from the University of Michigan, and later an MFA from the same institution. Since the mid 1960s, Barrett has been exhibiting his metal sculptures and abstract paintings in numerous solo and group exhibitions in such places as Switzerland, Bulgaria and Japan as well as in the United States.

Barrett’s sculptures of fabricated aluminum, bronze or steel address the interplay between positive and negative space with grace, elegance and exquisite balance.  His works call to mind the fluid effortlessness of calligraphic strokes and betray a positivism to which many viewers feel drawn.  Others have said that Barrett’s sculptures are distinctly American in their directness and lightness.  His sophisticated constructions, through a delicate balance of form and content, transcend the starker aesthetics of minimalism with a warmth and humanity.

Barrett is represented in numerous private and public collections. Museum collections include the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, CT; the Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; the Knoxville Museum of Art, TN; the Museum of Fine Arts, NM; the Harwood Museum, NM; the Fine Arts Museum of Oklahoma City, OK; the International Foundation Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, VA; the Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open Air Museum, Tokyo, Japan; and Runnymede Sculpture Farm, CA.  His works have been installed on many university campuses, and he is frequently called upon to produce large public sculpture by commission.

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