David Barrett is an artist of great humility. He is neither philosopher nor poet nor politician. He doesn’t seek to convey through his works any original concept or idea. Glory and wealth have no appeal to him. He is simply a painter.
His taste for art was awakened from an early age and continued to grow ever since. Against the advice of his father who wanted to see him embrace a career as a lawyer, he studied plastic arts. He then became a portraitist, but quickly got tired of the constraints imposed by sponsors. He then chose to develop his art freely, in parallel with a career as a art teacher.
Through his paintings, it is the human that he explores, in all its complexity, whether physical or psychological. The relationship of trust he weaves with his models during long sessions allows him to make portraits of a great authenticity where lies and pretenses have no place. Some objects, skillfully arranged on the canvas, then retrace the story of a life. Thus, through a dying bird we guess the tragic story of a dancer, her career altered after an injury.
Each work is also for David Barrett, a new technical challenge. Humans, so changeable in their moods, their personality, their bodies, are thus his favorite subjects. He likes to study a model in the long term, from several months to several years. The nude offers him the opportunity to study the subtle changes of the skin, according to the lighting, the seasons, the emotions of the character. The different postures are, for their part, an opportunity to reinvent the compositions from the religious painting he admires. It is, for example, at St. Paul’s Conversion of the famous Caravaggio that he borrows the position of the young woman to the dead bird.
David Barrett promotes the study of amateur models and he also draws portraits of many of his family members and friends. He feels very close to these models, it is primarily on the representation of their personality, which he will linger. A particular nostalgia emerges, for example, the portrait of his daughter, at age 13, accompanied by her stuffed rabbit, a symbol of the time of childhood, soon to be passed. The painter also paints portraits of celebrities, such as Irish poets Michael D. Higgins and Thomas McCarthy.
Rachel Chenu – 2019
(Article in French on Pausart.fr)