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James Barsness Outside the Crib
James Barsness The Tower
James Barsness The Usual Difficulties
James Barsness Allegory of Good Government

Press Release

The Usual Difficulties

Dec 1 - Dec 31, 1995

During December, the George Adams Gallery will show new paintings and drawings by James Barsness. The exhibition will consist of three large paintings and two large drawings completed within the last two and a half years. The exhibition, The Usual Difficulties: New Paintings and Drawings is the artist's third one-man exhibition at the gallery and the first to feature his large-scale canvases.

Barsness' paintings are typically large: the smallest in the present exhibition is seven by nine feet. He draws in ballpoint pen and paints with acrylics on scrap paper and old comics collaged onto canvas as a ground, using the paper  as a color ground or, when fully integrated with the imagery, as a narrative device. The artist takes events in his own life - personal or public - as his subject. In the present group, for example, The Tower, is a contemporary interpretation of the Tower of Babel and reflects Barsness' view of life in Los Angeles, where he moved in time to experience the repercussions of the Rodney King verdict. Out of the Crib, 1994, is a more intimate examination of parenthood, and in it he anticipates his newborn daughter's adolescent years. Finally, in the work for which the exhibition is named, The Usual Difficulties, 1995, Barsness depicts the dynamics of family life from the perspective of both sibling and parent.

James Barsness was recently the subject of a survey exhibition organized by the Boise Art Museum, Idaho, that travelled to the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem. This past summer he was included in "The Re-Constructed Figure" curated by John Beardsley for the Katonah Museum. Barsness, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, lives and works in Venice, California.

Exhibition Checklist


1. The Tower, 1993
ink, acrylic, collage on paper
84 x 110 inches
JBARp 06


2. The Usual Difficulties, 1995
ink, acrylic, gold leaf on paper mounted on canvas 
82 x 111 1/2 inches
JBARp 26

3. Outside the Crib, 1994 
ink, acrylic, collage on paper 
84 x 108 inches 
JBARp 04


4. Allegory of Good Government, 1995
acrylic, ink, gold leaft on paper mounted on canvas 
84 1/4 x 72 1/4 inches
JBARp 07