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Musée d'Art Contemporain des Laurentides
Centre d'Exposition du Vieux-Palais, 12 Septembre au 17 Octobre, 2004
185,rue du Palais, Saint-Jerome , Quebec J7Z 1X6 , 450-432-7171
 
The show titled Barkley: Le nu mis en scène, features the work of Daniel Barkley for the first time in his home province. He is, for the time being, a little known painter, well on his way to earning a place amongst the most esteemed artists in Quebec . Barkley, born in 1962 in Montreal , holds a Master's degree in Fine Arts from Concordia University , and has been painting for about twenty years. He has 16 exhibitions under his belt, most of them one man shows, and several of his paintings are in private collections. In 2000, he was awarded the A.J.Casson Medal for excellence in watercolour by the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour and in 2002 was awarded first prize by the Society of Canadian Artist.
 
The dramatic intensity Daniel Barkley's paintings emanate attracts and holds the eye with such strength that the works disturb, fascinate, and intrigue the viewer. We try to understand, to scrutinize the expressions of the figures, to connect to what they are experiencing. At times, we want to be there, to take part in the ritual, the dream, the drama that is unfolding before us. Barkley leads us back into those unresolved, worried, anxious places, deep within ourselves, without ever lapsing into the facile or the morbid. The viewer might feel uneasy faced with certain cathartic [bloody, cruel] scenes, faced with the absurd realism of the paintings which feature nightmarish imagery or with the fixed stares of some of the figures. Nevertheless, a seemingly magical attraction radiates from these works. The ritual solemnity in Exorcism I and II ; the tragedy in Ship of Fools I and II , Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian , Limbo , Salome , Road to Bethesda , Torment of Anthony Abbott ; attest to this magical attraction. It is further evoked by the powerful dream imagery in Levitation , Somnambule , Harrowing of Hell and Corral de locos .
 
In all of these paintings, the nude is featured openly, simply without artifice. Stripped of its clothing-mask, endowed with a raw, never indecent, nudity; the expressive power of the figure increases tenfold.
 
In this way, it seems to convey the whole truth of its emotion, the intense reality of the inner drama being lived, the fragility of its physical shell. The body, sometimes covered by golden mud, sometimes soiled with black oil or tattooed with esoteric signs and symbols, takes on poses that indicate ecstasy, madness or the dream state.
 
Barkley seems to renew a link with the great masters of the 19 th century through his mythological and biblical themes, his composition and technique, all the while remaining firmly contemporary and personal. Some of his paintings also speak to the works of much older masters. Thus, in Doubting Thomas , Ship of Fools , Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian , and The Blind Leading the Blind , Barkley gives a very personal nod to Carravaggio, Bosch and Bruegel. In all his canvasses, Barkley demonstrates a mastery of technique, a keen sense of balance in his composition, a strong artistic vision and a profound love of painting.
 
The exhibition, BARKLEY : Le nu mis en scène, in Saint-Jerome will include a selection of 20 large size acrylics on canvas, as well as accompanying information (photograph and biography of the artist, promotional material, list of works). The artist and / or the organizer of the exhibition will be available to meet the public and the media.

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