Q&A with Barnaby Furnas – Monica De Cardenas Gallery

We are glad to share with you a mini interview conducted with American artist Barnaby Furnas about his new show on exhibition December 7, 2013 at Monica De Cardenas Gallery. Enjoy!


Can you describe the inspiration for your new show?

Inspiration for this show came from the book of Genesis otherwise known as the Greatest Spectacle Of All Time! Anyway, I have been hunting around for a way to approach landscape when I hit upon trying to make a picture about the beginning of the world – these new landscapes – and the end of the world embodied by two concert spectacles. The portraits are sort of caught in between.

There are landscapes, portrait paintings, and still lives in the show, does this indicate a transition away from the more aggressive, carnal, and political subject manner in previous work?

Yes, I think so in a direct way – except maybe the political – but a strong interest in the sublime remains at the core of all my work. Can you make a painting of – say flowers – that’s carnal or violent? Or do I need the severed limb? These are the sorts of questions I am asking my work. After all – from a certain perspective – a flower can be seen as a kind of explosion, no?

How has your experience as a graffiti artist influenced your current work? 

Well, for one it got me used to working large, but more importantly I would say that it taught me to not be limited to art store materials and the techniques that go with them.

When speaking about your painting ‘Red Sea’ you describe your artistic process as “making what you are most afraid of as beautiful as possible.” Does this hold true for your new show?

Well there is no getting around fear of death – that is definitely an important one and it may be the prime director of all fear – but there are many small fears in life. The fear of not existing is often buttressed by fears of existing too much – at least for me. There can be both beauty and horror in a butterfly.

Did you make the paintings on site like you have done in past shows?

Unfortunately it always seems to happen. I think I am addicted to the drama. It’s getting old and making my hair grey.

[Interviewed by Abigail Lewis]

Monica De Cardenas – Chesa Albertini, 7524 Zuoz St.Moritz – Switzerland
December 7, 2013 –  February 9, 2014