The distinguished American master Will Barnet (1911-2012) will be honored with his first memorial exhibition at the Harmon-Meek Gallery in Naples. The two week show titled "A Journey Towards Abstraction" commences Monday, March 10 and runs through Friday, March 22.
Will Barnet, passed away last fall at 101, as an indirect casualty of super storm Sandy. It seemed as though nothing less than an event such as that could stop this very active artist who spent eight decades creating masterful works in all forms of painting and printmaking. A year ago William Meek, director of the gallery in Naples, was invited to guest curate a 95 work, eight decade exhibition at the Boca Raton Museum of Art "Will Barnet at 100". That exhibition followed other major exhibitions honoring the artist at the National Academy Museum in New York City and at the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock.
Barnet has been represented by the Harmon-Meek Gallery since 1970 and his first of fifteen solo exhibitions at the gallery was held in 1974. The Philharmonic Center for the Arts presented a Barnet exhibition in 1994 before the museum was built and the Naples Museum of Art hosted a major retrospective about four years ago.
The current exhibition, which was personally selected by the artist last September, encompasses the last decade of abstract painting, which is very different from the previous forty years of figurative painting, but refers directly to the decade of the 1950s when Barnet used American Indian geometric motifs as an influence in his non-objective work. The show in Naples, which has now changed to a memorial tribute exhibition, has also changed via the addition of works from three other abstract periods leading up to what he created in the past decade. Cubist works of the 1940s, the abstract expressionist watercolors of the late 1940s, and the "Indian Space" paintings of the 1950’s have singular works representing these other forays into abstract art creation.
"A Journey Towards Abstraction" is the title of this Harmon-Meek showing and the works included helps to explain the artist's use of abstract elements throughout his life as an artist. Barnet said that he sought immortality via his artwork after viewing great master works which were hundreds of years old at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston when he was a child. Having seen his own work selected for inclusion in more than three hundred museums it is believed that his dream should be realized.
The Harmon-Meek Gallery is open 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday.
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