David Barnett: Spirits on the WingNovember 6 - December 13, 2008
David Barnett: Spirits on the Wing, on view November 6 through December 13, 2008, is the artist’s first solo exhibition with Denise Bibro Fine Art. The show encompasses pedestal-mounted sculptural objects, wall-mounted constructions, and two-dimensional collages combining a plethora of found objects as well as those fashioned by the artist’s own hand. The work is infused with a rich sense of history. The theme of flight reoccurs throughout, as does the conflation of the study of anatomy and mechanics. Barnett draws inspiration from Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell, and Leonardo Da Vinci.
Intricate, fanciful flying machines fashioned from cut and manipulated vintage tin containers and soldered brass wire are anthropomorphized by the addition of a porcelain doll’s head. Ethereal winged beings, evocative of angels or saints, adorned with beatific faces, have marionette bodies—wood strung together with wire—or legs attached to pedals. The collages utilize Victorian era catalog and botanical imagery, anatomical diagrams, and animals. A girl sprouts butterfly wings, a cow is mechanized by the addition of wheels, a bird has a man’s head. Reminiscent of the German Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, Barnett’s work is at once delightful, eccentric, and mysterious.
Barnett has mounted solo exhibitions at Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, MD, the Upstream Gallery, Dobbs Ferry, NY, and the Brownstone Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. Numerous group shows include Gallery Henoch, Allan Stone Gallery, and the Armory Show, all in New York, NY; Futura Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden; Philipse Manor Hall Museum, Yonkers, NY, among others. He has been profiled in The New York Times, Idea magazine, and Print magazine. Barnett has held teaching positions at Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, and the School of Visual Arts.
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