This archived article was written by: Noel Carmack
The first College of Eastern Utah’s Gallery East exhibit for the 2009-10 academic years features “Drawn from Life: The Drawings of Robert T. Barrett.” It is on display through September 25 and features a large selection of life drawings by renowned Utah artist, Robert T. Barrett.
“We are excited to have the work of such a distinguished artist at Gallery East,” says gallery director, Noel Carmack. “Barrett’s drawings not only show his strong skills as a draftsman but they reveal his remarkable ability to capture the inner character of his subjects. The drawings are representative of Barrett’s lifelong interest people and personalities in the vast, diverse human story.”
Though known for his paintings and illustrations, Barrett possesses a strong affinity for drawing from life. For him, life drawing is the artist’s true test in developing observational skills.
In a short essay on life drawing, Barrett writes: “Drawing is not only the beginning of personal vision for the artist, it is also the primary means the artist has to communicate his or her thinking. Learning to draw the human figure may be an end in and of itself or it may be the means to other ends. However, from the beginning, it has also been the measure of an artist’s skills.”
The sensitivity of Barrett’s drawings show a long-felt appreciation for the figure. “The human form is a marvel of creation capable of exhibiting form, structure, proportion, contrast, action and emotion,” he writes. “When coupled with drapery and costume it is also capable of communicating narrative content as well.”
Barrett also recognizes the fundamental importance of drawing as a discipline and its place in the history of art. “For centuries, some of history’s greatest minds have devoted themselves to its understanding and the tools and procedures for drawing it convincingly,” Barrett writes. “To do this requires a particularly high degree of focus as well as the ability to orchestrate a number of principles. I believe it was Degas who stated ‘Drawing is not difficult if you don’t know how to do it.'”
In addition to being an accomplished painter, muralist, and illustrator, Robert Barrett is also a professor in the department of visual arts at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He has exhibited his work in many art shows including those at the Society of Illustrators in New York, the Directors Guild of America, N.Y., and the National Arts Club, N. Y.
His work has also been exhibited at the Annual Utah Illustrator’s Exhibitions, the Annual Springville Salons and exhibits at the Salt Lake Art Center. He has had a number of one-man shows including those at the Society of Illustrators, Springville Art Museum, the St. George Art Museum, the Kimball Art Center, Repartee Gallery, BYU, BYU-Idaho, and the Busam Gallerie in Berlin Germany.
Barrett studied painting in Europe as the recipient of a German Academic Exchange Grant and was an Artist in Residence at the Kimball Art Center as the recipient of a joint grant from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Utah Arts Council. He has received multiple awards for his work both locally and nationally. His work has been featured in International Artists, Southwest Art, Artist’s Magazine, and American Artist magazines. He has also had work published in Society of Illustrator’s Annuals, Communication Arts Magazine and Print Magazine.
His clientele includes Viking USA – with their imprints Puffin, Penguin, and Dial Books, Random House, McGraw Hill, Fawcett Books, Harper Collins, Clarion Books, Bantam, Double Day, Dell Publications, Thomas Nelson, Ideals Publishing, Deseret Book, as well as Outdoor Life, American History, Boy’s Life, and McCalls Magazine.
Barrett completed a limited edition collectors’ plates for the Bradford Exchange in Chicago as well as prints for Millpond Press. He recently completed a children’s book entitled “The Real Story of the Flood” for Concordia Publishing House. His book “Life Drawing: How to Portray the Figure with Accuracy and Expression” was published in 2008 by North Light Books.
Barrett received a bachelor’s of fine arts in painting from the University of Utah and a master’s of arts and masters of fine arts in painting from the University of Iowa. In 1995 he was awarded the Karl G. Maeser Award for Teaching Excellence at BYU and in 2004 he was awarded the Karl G. Maeser Research and Creative Arts Award. He is a member of the Society of Illustrators, the Pastel Society of America, the Portrait Society of America and the Salmagundi Club.
Barrett will discuss his art and the importance of drawing during a closing reception and gallery talk on September 25, from 4 to 6 p.m. in Gallery East. Students, faculty and members of the community are invited to attend.
Gallery East is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is closed Fridays, weekends and holidays. The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the gallery at: 435-613-5327; or contact Noel Carmack at: 435-613-5241 or [email protected]