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James Barsness The Prize
James Barsness Colony
James Barsness Poker Night (self portrait)
James Barsness Ticker Tape Book
James Barsness Crows Dinner Book
James Barsness Hand Book
James Barsness File Cabinet Book
James Barsness Dogs and Box Book
James Barsness Seven Dogs Book
James Barsness Suprise Gift Book
James Barsness Turret Book
James Barsness Saint & Sinner Book
James Barsness Man and Woman Book
James Barsness The Serpent of Midgaard

Press Release

During June, the George Adams Gallery will show new work by James Barsness. The exhibition will include two paintings, 10 illustrated books and a recent work on paper.  The centerpiece of the show is his largest work to date, The Prize, 2002, a 9 x 13 foot mixed media work on canvas that has books attached to the surface.  As with most of Barsness' paintings, this is a work on paper - dress pattern paper, discarded flyers and other found sheets - mounted on canvas.  The images are all rendered in outline using ballpoint pen, then colored in acrylic and, finally, sealed with a roplex covering.

Typical of many of Barsness' works, The Prize takes as its subject human interaction, in this case, bureaucracy.  The central image of the painting is a large propeller plane set in a desert. Characters of all types - human, animal and cartoon - swarm in and around the fuselage, with the interior of the plane depicted in cut-away.  Scattered throughout the surface of the canvas are ten small books, painted and shaped to conform to the image rendered on the canvas which, when opened, reveals a second narrative layer.

Also featured in the exhibition are ten additional books, including one shaped like a pair of hands and another a building turret.  Inside each book is a richly worked ink and acrylic drawing such as a group of dogs seated at a table, a circle of crows, or a figure carrying a box that opens to reveal a time bomb.  Other works  in the exhibition include a second large-scale painting titled Colony,a view of life as if lived in an ant farm, and a smaller work on paper titled Poker Night that features a self-portrait.

A monograph devoted to Barsness' work, Monsters Progress, was published in 2000 with essays by Thyrza Goodeve, Richard Rayner and Susan Kandel.  His work is included in such public collections as the Whitney Museum, the Pennsylvania Academy, the Arkansas Art Center and the Allentown Art Museum, as well as numerous private collections.  A graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, Barsness is on the faculty at the Dodd School, University of Georgia in Athens.

Exhibition Checklist

1. Poker Night (self portrait), 2002
acrylic, ink, collage, gold leaf on paper
21 x 26 inches
JBARd 47

2. The Prize, 2002
acrylic, ink, collage on paper mounted on canvas,
handmade books
107x162 inches
JBARp 34

3. Colony,  2002
acrylic, ink, gold leaf on linen
81 x 103 1/2 inches
JBARp 36

4. Dogs and Box Book, 2002
acrylic, ink, snaps on paper
7 1/8 x 7 7/8 inches
JBARd 52

5. Saint & Sinner Book,  2002
acrylic, ink, snaps on paper
7 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches
JBARd 56

6. Man and Woman Book, 2002
acrylic, ink, snaps on paper
6 1/4 x 9 inches
JBARd 57

7. Hand Book, 2002
acrylic, ink, snaps on paper
11 x 16 1/2 inches
JBARd 49

8.  Seven Dogs Book, 2002
acrylic, ink, snaps on paper
12 x 11 1/4 inches
JBARd 53

9. Ticker Tape Book, 2002
acrylic, ink, snaps on paper
7 7/8 x 11 3/8 inches
JBARd 51

10. Turret Book, 2002
acrylic, ink, snaps on paper
11 3/4 x 13 1/4 inches
JBARd 55

11.Surprise Gift Book, 2002
acrylic, ink, snaps on paper
3 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches
JBARd 54

12. Crows Dinner Book, 2002
acrylic, ink, snaps on paper
6 3/4 x 7 5/8 inches (irregular)
JBARd 58

13. File Cabinet Book,  2002
acrylic, ink, snaps on paper
4 3/4 x 8 3/8 inches
JBARd 50

14. The Serpent of Midgaard. 1999
etching & aquatint with chine colle
24 x 29 1/2 inches
edition of 20
JBARr 01.02