Glenn Barr is one of Detroit’s finest living artists – an incredibly skilled painter that exhibits internationally, and has created his own unique self-contained and stark futuristic-retro world; one skewed by the history of Detroit’s low-brow culture and that addresses our post-industrial pop-damaged age.
Barr combines techniques from the world of commercial illustration, figurative art, pop and 1950s abstraction onto his signature rusty, earth-toned palette. His subjects range from space-age teenager sirens to funky hipsters, mischievous devils, sprites and fairies -all portrayed against a decaying carnivalesque dystopian setting. The result is a darkly sinister and lush googie filled tripped-out goulash, where paradox, angst and uncertainty meet on a fantasy battlefield – what Barr terms his “haunted paradise”. A sly and subtle humor invades most of the work -an irony riffing off cultural overload, dead-media, lost utopias, the sexy sixties and our collective obsession with cool.
Identified with the lowbrow movement, Barr’s first retrospective was Haunted Paradise (2006) released by Last Gasp and his Los Angeles dealer Billy Shire. His latest release is the condensed survey and marvelous FACES, another Last Gasp book that takes a close up view at 80 different paintings Barr created over the past 5 years. Another recent title is the latest HEEP #4 from a series of self-published zines containing drawings from Barr’s sketchbooks.
In the backroom gallery, a special pop-up shop for the holidays has been set up and carefully arranged by the artist, featuring an assortment of signed books, zines, posters, toys, and limited edition prints and cards. In addition, Barr has selected books and objects from around the store to create a personalized Barr-inspired gift selection. Stop by soon and peruse the offerings. The Pop-up shop will close in early January.