in the present
In his aim to be more in the present, Johan Barrett began to simplify his painting practice. From more detailed paintings, he began painting simple lines and shapes, in strong, bright colors. He has just made two serigraphs with his hyped flower still lifes.
Tell us about your obsession with flowers!
- After my last solo exhibition, I wanted to try to simplify my process to the utmost. Summer was approaching, my studio is close to nature and I started picking flowers. I became obsessed with finding new shapes in the flowers. When I wasn't in the studio, I made drawings of flowers that we had at home, by our country house or from books and magazines. The flowers I love the most are the ones that have started their journey towards death.
And why this effort to simplify?
- I'm constantly trying to find a method where I don't have full control. At one stage I had reached a point where my method of painting would sometimes feel perfonctory and the tension thereby disappeared. I was looking for a way where I could be more present myself; more intuitive, simpler. I found a new process with an often line-based, monochrome, stripped down manner of painting. I also flipped old paintings and worked directly on the unprimed canvas. In it, there is a resistance which means that you have to work more physically, it cannot be as controlled.
- The choice of color also comes from the effort to simplify. I've been working a lot with strong, bright colors lately. As I work in monochrome, I have to use colors that stand for themselves.
Tell us about the prints!
- They are based on black and white ink drawings and are printed with the same blue and red colors that I have often used in my paintings recently. The idea is that they should work well in pairs but also individually.
About the prints
Paper: Fabriano Rosapina
About the artist
In his art, Johan Barrett twists and turns the concept of the present. For a period, he captured the inability to be in the present by depicting the escape to resorts and exotic destinations. Barrett has subsequently continued to explore these frozen moments of happiness, beyond the everyday, but has also begun to approach the presence of the moment, which can be achieved anywhere, with still lifes.
Johan Barrett has had a number of solo exhibitions and participated in a large number of group exhibitions in Sweden as well as in Los Angeles, London and Oslo. He is educated at Beckmans School of Design. Recently, he has received extra attention for his simple, stylized flower still lifes.