Solo Shows

Chris Barnard’s grinding metaphors

 Chris Barnard, “No Exit (Source of Friction: Unpredictable actions of other actors),” 2007, oil on canvas, 84 x 62″

Detail, “No Exit”

In the LA Times Christopher Knight informs us that “Full Spectrum Dominance,” the title of Chris Barnard’s show of five recent paintings at Sam Lee Gallery, is the name of an American military doctrine that is also sheerest fantasy: In a war zone, the military attempts total control over every feature of the battleground, including hardware, software and manpower. “It might look good on paper, especially in the procurement office, but the inevitable chasm between theory and practice shows that such a thing is impossible. Barnard’s large abstract paintings enact various collisions between flat, mechanistic patterning and the liquid illusion of deep, luminous space to create a grinding metaphor for this conflicted form of thinking….Barnard pits intimations of rockets, weaponry and computer information against organic fields of sumptuous color. If the sideswipe would sometimes benefit from greater pictorial pressure and chromatic stress, the best works, such as ‘Booster’ and ‘No Exit,’ do their job with skill.”

Chris Barnard: Full Spectrum Dominance,” Sam Lee Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Through March 13, 2010.


  1. Dear Sharon,

    This is a REALLY fine blog. I've been reading it for a few weeks, and today I subscribed via Google reader. I just thought I'd let you know that you have another reader! But where do you find the time to be so thorough?


    Philip Hartigan

  2. The military thing didn't leap out at me. Those little colored jets made me think of spirituality or science fiction, which I suppose is where the military thinking is, but 'the dominance of terrain' = 2D to 3D – again seems a stretch to attribute to military means.

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