Alex Barry’s work is painfully awkward, and awesome. Barry is one of my favorite artists. A graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, he’s worked in blue chip galleries, made interesting old-school stop motion work, learned a few tricks on a skateboard, and filled an entire studio in Ridgewood with a treasure trove of ink on paper. Most of Barry’s work is unseen, other than the few he shares in a series called #dailydoodleregimen on Instagram: @alexbarryart.
Influenced the comic strips of Matt Groening and Gary Larson, Barry started drawing in his early teens. He found, that with repetition and time, the ritual of creating imagery had become a second language, and ‘blossomed into a secondary agency for human connection.’ His creations could exist closely to others in ways he felt he could not.
Barry’s most recent work is figurative, composed by way of a series of ‘creatures’ in ink on paper having all too human experiences. “My work’s main themes are inferiority, disconnection, isolation, loss, heartache, death, and the joyful laughter found within these moments,” he said. There is a kind of elation that comes from scanning Barry’s works. The scenarios he creates are based on the subconscious fears and the silly hijnks that take place when humans attempt intimacy.
Barry’s most current works will be in a show at Lorimoto Gallery this Saturday. And I highly recommend going to see it. Several years ago, Barry was creating a series called Ugly People Mating, of which I’m still anxiously awaiting a proper release. And before that, he had been making these crazy pieces based on the 90s hit sitcom Friends. He recreated many of the most seminal moments comic strip style, using these naked powerlifter cats, drawn like 1950s cartoons, with giant breasts and erect penises. Barry made no attempt to differentiate gender, and isn’t making a comment about the politics of sexual identity. It’s just Friends. But with ripped naked cats. And it’s epic.
“I make semi-automatic ink drawings that generally develop into a narrative,” said Barry. “My visual vocabulary is based on the gag strip panel cartoon. It is a very basic punchline oriented formula that reads left to right, exists in black and white, and all realities are permitted and all pathos are welcome. Pianos fall from the sky flattening the unlucky, headless chickens can soulfully play violin in the orchestra pit of the Phil Harmonic, and either of these situations can be funny or sad or both. The result is some kind of humor.”
“+ & -“ is a show consisting works in black and white with an emphasis on drawing and portraiture. Opening this Saturday April 9 6-9pm at Lorimoto Gallery – 1623 Hancock St, Ridgewood, New York.