Artist Statement

Spending my formative years in New York City, my work carries an urban attitude. Graffiti was everywhere, energizing the city with its animated movement and youthful voice. This energy and animation still influences the work I make today. 

There is a visual language to every form and shape I create, reflecting everyday life and our relationships to each other, as well as the world around us. I strive to balance and harmonize the many elements in life that affect all of us as we move through space and time. 

I work with industrial materials and utilize minimalist principles, combining the two and aiming to humanize the unyielding material into organic shapes, creating a unified ideal and harmonic vision.

My work is a creative impulse that inspires me to push the limits of the material, making my process a part of the art itself. I feel a great deal of excitement when a work is successfully completed and I hope to share this with an audience.

"Kevin Barrett’s formal impulse carries a Neo-Modernist orientation to sculpture. It is an impulse that not only projects a deeply felt expressive content, but also carries a carefully hewn visual language. His shapes are complexly configured in three-dimensional space through the formal application of alternating thrusts and conterthrusts that function as a means toward rhythmic unity.

Barrett’s constructive approach has continued to refine itself over the past decade. His work has become less angular and more intensely biomorphic. His ingenious overlapping of amebic planes, as seen in the current work, functions like a mind-game that carries both sensuality and wit. There is a certain lightness about these planar shapes that evades the weight of turgid stylization.

While obliquely reminiscent of Hans Arp’s Dada cut-outs made in Zurich during World War I, Barrett’s forms retain a sense of dynamic energy and metaphorical power that exceeds the past. His highly-charged visual inquiries into the morphological interrelations of shape, ranging from biology to astronomy, offer an incisive vision that suggests phenomena not unrelated to present-day scientific reality.

Barrett’s remarkable capacity to employ diversity within unity, and vice versa, has always been one of the artist’s strengths. This quality is further evident in these painted aluminum wall reliefs. Barrett’s forms reveal an insight into how nature can be transfigured through a deeply-felt aesthetic insight. At the same time, there is a toughness about these shapes that is openly deterministic in the sense of the early Constructivists.

Looking at Barrett’s work one may find a new sense of equilibrium in a world that seems out of sync and chaotic, a world where the tactile and the virtual seems at odds with one another. In these remarkable colorful aluminum constellations, Kevin Barrett offers another possibility for the future. Rather than cynical exhaustion, these interrelated shapes are woven together not as absolute forms but as decoys that keep slipping in and out of place before our eyes. Yet ultimately they cohere together. They retain an openness that brings art into an exquisite dialogue with science. They are free-forms gliding through space and time, full of resonance and equanimity."

- Robert C. Morgan