Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the College of Business. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University.
Bill Barrett's sculptures belong to the classical tradition of American modernism where clarity of form and firmness of structure are coupled with the harmonious juxtaposition of the curvilinear. He expresses a sculptural consciousness of the organic, surfacing into elegant gestures that in their virtually liquid appearance indicate natural growth. His work is sensual and intuitive rather than ruled by an imposed logic. It floats through space, curving upward and outward, flirting with weight and gravity. Like much sculpture based on European traditions, Barrett's work carries with it a memory of the archaic.
Philip Palmedo, author of the book on his work, Bill Barrett, The Life of a Sculptor, recognizes the influences that expressionism, Asian calligraphy, and most importantly, surrealism has had on his work - "surrealism as access to the locus of memory and feeling, to the place where the human inclination to sing and to move gracefully has its origins."
Bill Barrett (American b. 1934), one of today's foremost sculptors, was born in Los Angeles, CA. he earned a B.S. and M.S. in Design from the University of Michigan, and later an M.F.A. from the same institution. Since the mid 1960's, Barrett has been exhibiting his unique metal sculptures and abstract paintings in numerous solo and group exhibitions in such places as the United States, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Japan.
Barrett's sculptures of fabricated aluminum, bronze or steel address the interplay between positive and negative space with grace, elegance and exquisite balance. His work calls to mind the fluid effortlessness of calligraphic strokes and betray a positivism to which many viewers feel drawn. Others have said that Barrett's sculptures are distinctly American in their directness and lightness. His sophisticated constructions, through a delicate balance of form and content, transcend the starker aesthetics of minimalism with a warmth and humanity.
Barrett, who divides his time between New York City and Santa Fe, is represented in numerous private and public collections nationwide. Museum collections include the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, CT; the Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, NM; the Harwood Museum, NM' the Fine Arts Museum of Oklahoma City, OK; the International Foundation Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria; the Runnymede Sculpture Farm, CA. His sculptures have been installed on many university campuses and he is frequently called upon to produce large public sculpture by commission.