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peter barnett Art Blog


by PMBARNETT , November 7, 2007—12:00 AM

Topics: Derelicts, Favorite Series

Another of my favorite subjects, to which I return regularly for inspiration, is derelicts. These can be old cars or trucks, abandoned in the woods, old barns and sheds gaining character with age, or a combination of both.

I would say I am in to the unspoken narrative that a subject presents when it is haunted by its past. Narrative qualities in painting were in very bad repute for much of the 20th century, but I find that even the most visually satisfying compositions and patterns are enriched by an associative layer.

A few years ago I did a show with a fellow artist, Steve Calcasola, entitled "Homage to the New England Farm". He is also a plein-air painter, and our work fit very well together, but when we hung the show a major difference was obvious: his farms were thriving, bucolic, while mine were dying. They complemented each other wonderfully!

Even more than barns and sheds, it is derelict vehicles that exude personality, bursting with old memories. Perhaps it is the headlights as eyes, but every one seems alive in a remarkable way, much moreso than with a car or truck in its prime. The titles I give these studies of derelict vehicles are always calculated to point out the life, the ATTITUDE that I find in them. Like old sea captains mouldering on a pier.



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