ABOUT THE WORK
Untitled, 2001 by Robert Barry speaks to a warping of linear time. In place of a logical sequence, words or phrases etched in the work’s mirrored glass surface point to an occurance that has yet to take place (“EXPECT”) or an idea of futurity (“UNKNOWN”) as well as a reflection afterwards (“REMIND”), while omitting the linkages between. Here, the artist provides the arena for thought, but not a defined narrative, leaving the viewer to literally fill in the gaps of meaning through their mirrored reflection. Unlike the printed page of a book, with a clear contrast between support and text, structure and symbol, Barry’s words blend into the background or come forward, depending on what’s reflected: visible yet invisible, like a sound and its echo, or a thought rising in and out of consciousness. This edition is a fitting extension of Barry’s 1985 Renaissance Society solo exhibition in which he presented five word-based artworks, each taking the form of wall murals with text written or "drawn" on architectural spaces painted monochromatic colors.
Robert Barry (b. 1936; Bronx, New York) is best known as an integral figure in the development of Conceptual art. Although Barry’s work is often termed “conceptual,” the artist objects to the term; for Barry, his works may evoke immateriality or present as minimal ideas but embody felt thought. In his own words, they are meant to “embrace the spectator with their significance.” Since 1969, the artist has explored ways of developing our awareness of a larger reality through unexpected uses of words and language.
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