Work from 1964 to 2016
5 March to 23 April 2016
On 5 March 2016, Mary Boone Gallery will open at its Chelsea location Works from 1964 to 2016 by ROBERT BARRY. The exhibition, curated by Piper Marshall, features historical and contemporary work by the artist.
Robert Barry focuses on the site and the space between: between objects, between time, between places (metaphysical and real), between the artist and the viewer. Here, Barry utilizes words to realize a site-specific installation on the walls and the floor of the Gallery.
In using language, the artist invites a sense of contemplation and encourages mental fluctuation; words announce an intangible and psychic exchange. The movement between states is best conveyed by Psychic Series (1969). Almost imperceptible, this gray vinyl text work is installed in the entry of the Gallery; it announces: “Everything in the unconscious perceived by the senses but not noted by the conscious mind during trips to Baltimore during the summer of 1967”. Adhered to the wall, the open, Century Gothic typography establishes both a proximity to, and a separation from, the viewer. In recording a past memory, the work insists on a distance, the there and then of the thought and the time of archiving. Uninhibited by tense, however, the statement pulls into the present, to the moment of its reception.
The oscillation between place and time continues in the main gallery where the artist has installed Gold Circle (2016), a text that radiates from the center of the twenty-two foot high wall. Positioned below the gallery’s skylight, the words reveal themselves in parts: “Inevitable”, “Passion”, “Almost”, “Without”. Reading the stream of information is a participatory experience. As the viewer reads, the mind makes sense of the contiguous sequence.
On the opposite wall, Barry installs one of his new multi-panel paintings: Horizontal 4 Part Light Blue-Gray Painting with Words (2016), four canvases evenly spaced in a horizontal arrangement. White words “Remind”, “Conflict”, “Absent”, “Question”, float on the surface of the pale painted ground. This phantom-like stream of language encourages viewers to scan back and forth horizontally and up and down vertically as they situate themselves in the gallery. These multi-panel works hark back to Barry’s paintings of the late 1960s. Two additional new works similarly link the present to the past: a red four-panel painting and a yellow four-panel painting. Arranged in a square format in the large gallery, each of these works establishes a grid, a macro image of the squares that form its four points. The distance between the four canvases extends from the wall to the space of the room and to the architecture of the gallery itself. This articulation invokes time as circuitous and instigates an awareness of the body of the beholder; the works highlight what we see and how we see: perception.
For Robert Barry the idea of the work is as important as the object itself. His words, openended and generous, engage the architecture of the space, and invite us to give over our own emotional, intellectual, and psychic reflection.
The exhibition, at 541 West 24 Street, is view through 23 April 2016. For further information, please contact Ron Warren at the Gallery, or visit our website www.maryboonegallery.com.