Connotations and Manipulations
Shark Girl - Betsy Barratt
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Kansas City, Mo. On Friday, June 2nd, 2017 from 5-9 PM the Todd Weiner Gallery will host the exhibition opening for “Connotations and Manipulations” featuring international artist Patrick Schmidt with a series of paintings, sculptures and tape installations. The exhibition will run through Saturday July 29th, 2017. That evening, a second solo exhibition will open at the Todd Weiner Gallery for Betsy Barratt entitled “Shark Girl” which will run through Saturday July 1st, 2017.
On time and innovative. These words describe the vibrant colors and engaging dimensionality of Patrick Schmidt’s art work. The entire front room of the Todd Weiner Gallery will transform into an installation of color, line, and shape. Schmidt will utilize paint and tape running from the ceiling, onto the floors, and out the front window into the street. Pulling its form from the two-dimensional works on the wall, the immersive installation will envelope the viewer as they weave between 7 foot sculptures. The acrylic paintings on canvas that hang in the room are comprised of overlapping brightly colored geometric shapes. Many layers and angled forms build the paint off the canvas and create an illusion of depth with pattern.
Schmidt’s intention is to use pattern as a metaphor to explore identity in the digital age. He appropriates image patterns from many digital technology sources and reduces them to line drawings overlaying them with ancient and contemporary archetypes to create a new “all-embracing design”. Color choice is important to Schmidt. In his artist statement he asserts, “As a painter, I value the primacy of color in my work. Because pigment suggests an inner energy, enhances ties to identity, and strengthens cultural bonds, I manipulate the combined effect of line, color, and shape into a cultural mythology in which everything happens at once.”
Schmidt has shown all over the world, most recently at the Florence School of Art in Florence, Italy. Schmidt holds an MFA and BFA in Painting from Central Michigan University and participates in visiting artist lectures around the U.S. His work has been featured in four additions of “New American Paintings” and earned him a grant renewal for the 1970 Faculty Development Fund, W&J College. Schmidt is a prolific artist and is steadily gaining national attention with his striking multidimensional artwork.
A second solo exhibition by Betsy Barratt entitled “Shark Girl” will open on First Friday. Barratt’s work is concerned primarily with juxtaposing serenity and chaos. As Jeanette Powers writes on Barratt’s work, “Her explorations of the dichotomies of modern femininity are at once shocking and sublime.” “Shark Girl” is a series of small-scale gouache works that place an amputated girl with a violent bloody shark. Barratt intends the fun, lighthearted, smiling, beautiful women on roller skates to harken to the iconic idea of a carefree summer. It is the easygoing feeling that Barratt can shatter by adding sharks with open wide jaws, dripping with blood ominously below the women.
Technically, Barratt does a masterful job at furthering the shocking and abrupt message portrayed by the imagery by floating the women and sharks on a background of white. The lack of extraneous detail forces the viewer to become intimate with the gruesome unsettling relationship of the woman and the shark. Barrett’s choice to portray the women as classical nude pinups poses a primal sexual relationship between women and sharks. For Barratt, these scenes are about more than just the relationship between the two figures represented. She asserts, “Most of the time life and our relationship to its circumstance are an ongoing symbiotic relationship of the two. Wrestling, struggling, enjoying, embracing, resisting its ebb and flow. The process leaves us sometimes, bloody and a mess, torn up and missing parts of ourselves we once had.”