Born in Metairie, LA, Peter Barnitz is a multi-media artist whose work incorporates sculpture, painting, photography, installation and text. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Loyola University of New Orleans (2004) and his Master of of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Orleans (2011). He currently works as the Resident Artist and Head Varsity Basketball Coach at Kenner Discovery Health and Sciences Academy High School. In 2012, Mr. Barnitz established the BArnitz Academy of Fine Arts, where he instructs ongoing workshops for children and adults. In 2014, Mr. Barnitz was appointed to the Kenner Rivertown Arts Council, where he serves as the chairman.
His exhibition portfolio spans both nationally and internationally in mor than 40 select exhibitions (solo, group, collaborative), including the ArtFields Exhibition (Lake City, SC), the Exposure Nature Collection at the Musee du Louvre (Paris, France) and the Louisiana Contemporary at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art (New Orleans, LA). His work has been selected for print and digital circulations including Studio Visit Magazine, Carolina Arts Magazine and reviewed in several publications, such as New Orleans Art Insider and The New Orleans Advocate. A recent curatorial project includes the 'Down By the River': P.S. Satellite Exhibition-Project of Prospect New Orleans presented by the Rivertown Arts Council.
As a multi-media artist my work responds to the power and expression of life, nature, gravity, emotion and movement. The works consist of mixed media paintings and constructions using a personal vocabulary of line, gestural marks, drips, color, texture and found objects. Through the use of these elements, I simplify form to create neutral experiences intended to generate both thoughtful and thoughtless contemplation, which correspond to a sense of harmony with the world and oneself. In a world filled with the constant bombardment of technology, distraction and confrontation, we must find a place of peace and compromise. The wide variety of subject matter in my artworks stems from a continuous and honest investigation into our fascinating and ever changing world.
The power of simplicity through repetition is a significant theme throughout the work I create. The most complex blueprints and organisms in the universe can be broken down into basic elements, which are the building blocks of the world in which we live. Through the use of mark-making, I simplify those elements to create neutral experiences intended to generate both thoughtful and thoughtless contemplations, which correspond to a sense of harmony with the world and oneself. This simplification reveals the ideas of the escape from space and time, Zen, meditation, juxtaposed, superimposed, minimalism, a-focal art, science, and art of the human hand.
The pattern is a visual portrayal of the idea of doing without thinking, which is similar to the surrealist idea of automatic drawing but engages a learned progression of mind to hand coordination, through practice and rhythm, at a moment in time. For example, the motion offense in basketball is a never ending continuation where the whole team is constantly moving in unison, all reacting and relating to one another based on where the ball is on the court and how the defense reacts. Through practice, repetition and discipline, this movement becomes automatic, and the team reacts without thinking, always knowing where the teammates are located. Similar to what is taught in the practice of tai chi and Zen, my pattern is the whole mind and body working in harmony. Many of these patterns are created within a single session of non-stop painting, where decisions of what line goes where become similar to breathing. I consider the web patterns to be a visual representation of concentration, patience, poise and the human spirit. These repetitive ideas were ingrained in my everyday activities at a very young age, especially through practice and preparation in athletics, all the way through my collegiate basketball career and into my art discipline.
The simple triangle pattern using rhythmic brush strokes on a large scale canvas, combined with the colors overlaying dot pattern, creates an intentionally tranquil painting. It is Abstract Expressionism united with Australian Aborigines paintings, where the celebration of the process of painting collides with a spiritual, meditative goal. The combination of simple repetitive dots and brush strokes, are intended to create an intricate web of seemingly infinite space. The contrast between the dot-pattern on top of the brush stroke web pattern, trigger a unique recipe of shapes within the painting that enhances a sense of tranquility or excitement, depending on the individual. The idea of patterns within patterns exposes the development of a second inspiration in the process involving the web pattern in reaction to the second overlaying pattern, signifying the interpretation of the unconscious and the acceptance of life. The second overlaying dot pattern is a deliberate revealing of the automatic natural web pattern that suggests both a rhythmic beat, as well as, a guide to what can be seen within the pattern through my eyes. The combination of these values encourage a contemplative, tranquil, balanced and relaxed response, where the viewer is engulfed in a cloud of networks, persuading the viewer to allow their eyes to explore the surface. Similar to my web pattern paintings, Mark Tobey’s paintings and drawings, such as The Advance of History, focuses on meditation and the interpretation of space.
The pattern is not only a symbol of hard work and determination, but a celebration of life, nature, up close or from a far, where the process of creating collides with a spiritual and meditative goal. It is a way of life, a discipline, a place of peace and contemplation. It is a creation of depth, space and motion, simple and complex, like a song or the silence between beats of a drum.
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