Randy Barnes

Randy Barnes was born in Missouri in 1950. After a stint in the Marine Corps, he entered the University of Missouri, then went on to the University of Kansas for further study in literature and poetics. Randy pursued the life of a poet/musician for many years and painted landscapes as time permitted. In 2000, Randy began painting abstracts in earnest full-time. Most recent shows were at the Blue Heron Gallery on Vashon Island and at the St. Louis World Trade Center.

Artist’s statement: Things come at me in fragments. I never see beforehand a whole entity. A flare of light, an obscure form, a movement that draws my eye into it but then, in an instant, disappears, leaving only an impression in my mind. Each thing begins with a series of pieces, imaginary, remembered, found, not yet found, invented by chance encounters. These things conjured from an immediate past or from the immediate present come into being as forms of tension, of solitude, of fear, of risk, of confusion. I throw them into the chasm, one by one, and then the construction begins.

This darkness then demands that I somehow find the right amount of light to find my way through. All the technique one can conjure is of no use here. The trap is in the trick. Everyone who attempts this foolishness finds very quickly just how vulnerable they really are. Explanations, descriptions, polemics, categorizations, handles, are intellectual pursuits to make of these things an identity that the non-participant can get his or her mind around and be able to convince himself that this thing is a definable creation–complete with bells and whistles–that instructs, that comforts, that interacts with a notion that it actually means something.

Sometimes the war rages for months. Sometimes the destination is arrived at quite soon. How am I to know, when first blood is drawn, where I’m going or what I’ll have to do in order to construct the thing or, to put it more precisely, to aid as an outsider an emergence of form unknown to me?


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