Burt Barr

We are sad to learn of Burt Barr’s passing on November 7, 2016. Burt was a friend to Graphicstudio and a talented artist. His collaborations extended his artistic practice into printmaking in a way that is emblematic of the mission of Graphicstudio.

Double Feature, 2000. photolithograph, 53 1/2 x 38 3/4 inches. Edition of 45

For Barr’s first project with Graphicstudio, he created a two-color photolithograph derived from his two-channel video August. For Double Feature, Barr used computer technology to capture an image from each channel, a wave crashing on a beach and a woman (Cecily Brown) caught in the rough surf. The images were output to film and then lithography plates, handprinted on one sheet of paper and produced in an edition of 45.

Burt Barr "Wave" panels 1-3
Burt Barr "Wave" panels 4-6
Burt Barr "Wave" panels 7-9
Burt Barr "Wave" panels 10-12
Burt Barr "Wave" panels 13-15Wave, 2003. digital inkjet print, panels A through E, each panel 23 9/16 x 89 7/8 inches. Edition of 8

barr-wave-installWave installed as a continuous image, 38 feet long

Barr’s film August provided imagery for his next Graphicstudio project Wave. Reoriented as a suite of five panels of three images each, Wave considers the perception of nature, pushing the boundary of its presentation through the scale of the project, measuring at 38 feet when viewed as a continuous image. Wave was one of the first digital inkjet prints produced at Graphicstudio.

Burt Barr. V-Formation, 2004. two-channel video, 14:00

Barr’s next project with Graphicstudio was drawn from a video work developed for Burt Barr: Solid Water, a solo exhibition presented by USFCAM from August 27 to October 9, 2004. Solid Water featured four video works and Wave, the newly completed digital print. Among the video works was V-Formation, a site-specific work inspired by USFCAM’s unusual architecture. The imagery of V-Formation was produced as a photogravure.

V-Formation, 2004. photogravure, 28 3/4 x 44 inches. edition of 20, XXX

The Gun and The Dog, 2007. photogravure, 21 3/16 x 40 5/16 inches. edition of 20

For his next collaboration with Graphicstudio, Barr produced The Gun and The Dog, a visually arresting comment on culture, dead serious but cartoonish and satirical as well. The pistol and the maw of the dog are a double-barreled threat pointing directly at the viewer. The black and white images, resembling magazine or billboard advertising, evoke the hair-trigger violence of American culture and its slick, packaged veneer in the mass media. A human figure in pin stripes is wreathed in smoke that could come from the just-fired gun or perhaps from a cigarette, while a smiling dog (Graphicstudio printer Sarah Howard’s dog Bayou) seems ready to lunge with its very white, very clean fangs.

barr-summerSummer, 2008. four-color lithograph on paper collé, 24 3/8 x 30 1/8 inches. edition of 15

Barr’s four-color lithograph Summer was derived from Summer 2005 Looped, a video shot in his garden in Long Island. On a lazy summer afternoon the artist aimed his video camera at a mirrored gazing ball bathed by a sprinkler, and captured the reflected house and surrounding landscape. A seated figure is seen in the middle ground, while the camera and tripod stand in for the artist. The flowing water and the curvature of the ball distort the image, and lend a sense of time passing or time past. The heightened, bleached out yellows and greens suggest both the heat of summer and the wistful, faded tones of an old family snapshot.

!, 2010. photogravure with aquatint, 18 x 18 inches. edition of 20

Barr’s elusively titled ! was drawn from his 2007 video The Frog. The Frog featured a backlit image of a frog in a swimming pool at night, shot in Hawaii. The video was first shown projected in a 28-inch square on a 40-foot wall at the Sikkema Jenkins Gallery in New York. The juxtaposition of sizes is hinted at by the 5-inch image of the frog printed on an 18-inch sheet of paper.

b-barr-winter-rightWinter, 2013. archival pigment print, consisting of three panels. 22 1/16 x 39 1/2 inches each, edition of 5

Winter was Barr’s final project with Graphicstudio. It was produced using some of the many photographs of bare and snowy trees that Barr had taken around his Long Island home. Reminiscent of Asian scrolls, the mass of branches subtly evolves from dense to sparse as each image within the print unfolds.

burt-barr-proofing-with-tim-bakerBurt Barr works with printer Tim Baker on The Gun and The Dog

Graphicstudio is proud of the editions produced with Burt Barr and we mourn the loss of this great artist.

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