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James Barsness Trash Heap
James Barsness Big Wheel
James Barsness The Palace
James Barsness I Know Who You Are, I Know What You've Done
James Barsness The Whole World 'Round
Show Announcement

Press Release

On Friday, April 3, the George Adams Gallery will feature an exhibition of new paintings by James Barsness. The exhibition, titled It's a Beautiful World, features five new large-scale works completed within the past year.  As in his previous works, Barsness continues to work on pages taken from comics and coloring books collaged onto canvas to which he has added hinged doors and fold-outs.  Using ballpoint pen and acrylic, he freely combines references from art history - Brueghel and Bosch - and popular culture - Disney, Dr. Seuss, pornographic magazines and the band Devo.

Barsness has examined aspects of human interaction in previous works, and he has returned to this subject in this new group of paintings. For example, the title of the exhibition, It's a Beautiful World, is taken from the refrain of a song by Devo ("It's a beautiful world for you, for you, for you...but not for me.") and sets up the central theme of the exhibition. The Palace examines the contrast between the public veneer of royalty and the private, human side; the public view conforms to certain commonly held expectations, while in private the truth is something else. In Trash Heap, a six by eight foot composition in ballpoint pen, Barsness explores the idea of how artists continually sift through the works of other artists, recycling the cultural dregs in the hope of creating something unique. In a cynical sense it is the art world feeding on itself, yet occasionally something new and exciting does in fact result.

The other paintings included in the exhibition are The World All Around in which the earth appears as a menagerie populated by mutant animals, The Big Wheel, a circular composition made up of figures in erotic positions, and I Know Who You Are and I Know What You've Done, which depicts a mass of animals and humans running across the horizon - whether toward or away from something remains unclear.

Exhibition Checklist

clockwise from right:

1.  Big Wheel, 1997
acrylic and ink on paper mounted on canvas
67 1/2 x 65 inches
JBARp 15

2. I Know Who You Are, I Know What You've Done, 1998
acrylic and ink on paper mounted on canvas
71 1/2 x 93 3/4 inches
JBARp 18

3. The Whole World 'Round, 1998
acrylic, ink, pastel, collage on paper mounted on canvas
73 3/4 x 94 1/4 inches
JBARp 17

4.  The Palace, 1998
acrylic, ink, paper, collage on canvas
73 1/2 x 89 1/2 inches
JBARp 16

5.  Trash Heap, 1997
ink and collage on paper mounted on canvas
73 3/4 x 95 3/4 inches
JBARp 13