Santa Fe Art Shows, Hunter Kirkland Contemporary Exhibitions

As all sculptors know, there are infinite shapes lurking within the stone, and it’s the artist’s job to “liberate” these shapes by judiciously removing and carving the surrounding material to bring the sculpture to life. When T Barny applies his ancient carving techniques and modern tools to the hardness of the stone, magical things happen. “Stone is man’s oldest material,” he points out, and he honors that antiquity by coaxing the difficult material into shapes and curves that show us new ways to appreciate its versatility.

“Life is a transition, and my sculptures reveal that,” says Barny. “The lines and edges flow around and through each other like arteries and veins in the human body, bringing the blood back to the heart.”

His Möbius strips—single, endless loops with edges so fine they’re translucent—are indeed reminiscent of the circulation of a life force, and they let us see the stone in a new way, more like a living, breathing entity than an unyielding, inanimate substance.

Barny’s bronze sculptures evince a similar effect. Unlike most bronzes, which are modeled in clay or wax before being cast, his are created in stone first, allowing him to retain the dynamism of his materials. “It gives them integrity,” he says.

Peter Burega’s paintings emerge in a fashion not unlike sculpting. But instead of releasing his work from stone, he creates his own critical mass by applying paint liberally to his board, then selectively scraping it off in a subtractive process that lets serendipitous visual effects emerge. His work has a sculptural, architectural quality that belies the two-dimensional nature of painting, with moments of stillness contrasting with bursts of energy that pull the viewer in, as if into a vortex.

“I’ve been experimenting with ways to break down the barrier between art and the viewer,” says Burega. “I want to make it tactile, with more texture—a more organic approach that shows more of my process.”

That process involves deeply scoring the boards to create a kind of grid, which serves to rein in his almost chaotic approach to painting and bring some calm and resolution to the otherwise frenetic outpouring of unfettered expression. The result is exquisite abstractions that manage to both soothe and stimulate, with colors both warm and cool mingling in a cauldron of emotion.

About T Barny: “As a young child I loved to make sand castles on the beach. But, people never recognized my castles because they were really my first abstract sculptures. I have worked in almost every material, form, and scale; from carved stone to neon, argon or mercury gas-filled blown glass; from classical clay figures to welded or cast metal abstract objects; from jewelry size sculptures to monumental forty-foot fabric installations and landscape garden designs. This encompassing experience drew me back to the oldest material of Man, the one that I continue to find the most expressive … Stone. My stone sculpture created out of hard rock appear almost soft.”

About Peter Burega: “My paintings blend documentation of the real world with my own physically exercised psychology, and are often described as containing dualities: organic/linear, man made/natural, ordered/chaotic, structured/amorphous. I believe that these dualities represent my striving for calm and balance in my life, and that the juxtaposition of my aggressive, abstractive energy with structured form consistently results in my most successful work.”