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2019 Exhibition: Butterflies, Words, and Colors

THE LODGE presents
Curated by Shane Guffogg
SATURDAY: APRIL 13, 2019 From: 6-9 PM
(Also on view paintings by Tim Isham)
Valet parking provided
THE LODGE, 1024 N. Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029
Photo from The Lodge
Photo from The Lodge
Raymond J. Barry is best known as an actor, but when he is not on a movie or TV set, he is in his studio, painting and writing. For Barry, the written word is a transfusion of thought that often manifests as a two or three person play, touching both sides of a theatrical realm; one part performance art, one part theater. These same words also find their way onto the brightly colored canvases that line Barry’s Hollywood studio. The loop of a J or the curves of an S become the departure point for abstraction that flutters within line, form, and color. Color is the key ingredient – Barry’s canvases are drenched in primary and secondary colors, all singing in unison like a well-oiled theatrical performance. Barry takes one of his journals (of which there are hundreds), and randomly picks a page. Then he projects a handful of words on to a canvas. The words are then traced, but now their true meaning or purpose has been taken away, leaving only remnants of thoughts and memories, utterances that hint at a source of conversation. The letters become spaces to fill with intense colors, essentially camouflaging them. Other parts are made up of diagonal lines that hint at doorways or window panes, creating an internal structure. Colored dots are painted throughout like a daisy chain, bringing to mind Aboriginal art that depicts an abstraction of time and space, or within the context of Barry’s paintings, thought bubbles with indecipherable conversations. There is often one last element; a large butterfly whose colors and shapes are perfectly camouflaged as it flies over this world of abstracted beauty.
These paintings are post-post-modern. They embody most, if not all, of the art movements of the 20th century, but these paintings aren’t about any of the artistic movements, as in the appropriating of ideas. The attacks of some of the brush strokes evoke the abstract expressionist, but just as quickly jump to conceptualism with the use of words as image, a la Ruscha. They reference cubism with multidimensional planes, all opened up and laid bare, spreading out across the canvas like a landscape. What do thoughts look like in a pure form? What do words sound like as color? How do we, as humans, make sense of our rapidly changing world that is ingested and reinterpreted through a mechanical and technological process, bombarding our senses? When I look at Ray Barry’s art, I see the results of a person whose being is a mere vessel through which the information of the world can move, and people can find their voices and resting places in his words, plays, and art. These works of art are pure, in the sense that he paints for the sake of painting and without concern for the Art World’s trends. Barry didn’t set out to make a post-modern painting; it happened out of his necessity to honestly express what he sees and feels. He makes these paintings because he has to; they are autobiographical as a pure stream of conscious. Barry paints daily, without questioning why; he follows his instincts. The results are unadulterated truths; painting for the sake of painting, tapping into a deep well of emotions and his personal need to communicate his moment.
Shane Guffogg
February 2019
And All For Nothing, 2017, oil on canvas, 62 3/8 x 78″