Troy Barrett: Burn the Rain

SMART OBJECTS is delighted to present Burn the Rain, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist Troy Barrett.

11.12 – 1.15

Bombshell, Oil on canvas and fiberglass, 52 x 77 x 12 in, 2022

Shani, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

Shani 2, Conté on paper, 18 x 11 inches, 2022

Siren, Oil on canvas and 3D printed resin, 36 x 31 x 3 in, Frame by Andrew Rutherdale, 2022

Deyanna, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

The Other Hand, Oil, 3D printed epoxy, 35 x 30 x 2 in, Frame by Sam Newell, 2022

Deyanna 2, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

Kait, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

Shadia, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

Kait, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

The Schizophrenic, Oil on canvas, carbon fiber, wire wrapped jewelry, motor, 47 x 47 x 6 in, 2022

Shani 3, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

Leslie 1, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

Sara, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

Christine, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

Chakravartin, Oil on canvas and glazed ceramic, 38 x 31 x 5 in, 2022

Dermis Girls, Oil on canvas and mixed media, 42 x 31 x 6 in, Frame by Nikki Ochoa, 2022

Leslie 2, Conté on paper,19 ½ x 14 in, 2022

Bodhisattva (interior detail), Oil on canvas, wood, and mixed media, 59 x 43 x 33 in, 2022

Christine 2, Conté on paper, 15 ½ x 16 in, 2022

Nina, Conté on paper, 19 ½ x 14 in, 2022

Moderna, Oil on canvas and carbon fiber, 78 x 61 x 12 in, 2022

Mekone, Oil on canvas, wood, and mixed media, 80 x 160 inches (painting), 115 x 104 x 184 inches (structure), 2022

Mekone, Oil on canvas, wood, and mixed media, 80 x 160 in, 2022

Eve, Graphite on newsprint, 21 x 18 in, 2022

Shani skeleton, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

Leslie 3, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

Leslie 3, Graphite on newsprint, 28 x 22 in, 2022

Across assemblage paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, Troy Barrett’s first exhibition with the gallery conjures the razor-thin line between excess and destitution that so distinctly defines the multifarious metropolis of Los Angeles. Scenes ranging from ecstatic to apocalyptic reflect a Los Angeles-as-inferno, or city-as-crucible—a vessel of refining fire that tests, purifies, and strengthens its inhabitants. Roman amphoras for mixing wine and Greek kraters for storing food or human remains guide the exhibition’s internal logic embodying abundance and emptiness. As a portrait of and homage to the people of Los Angeles, Burn the Rain interlaces the city’s extreme archetypes of sickness and health to reveal how bodies and their organizing systems can take form as they unravel.

Tendrils fall from a disorienting birds-eye-view of LA’s shoreline, highways, and landmarks in the opus-scaled maximalist canopied painting, Mekone. Forming the city’s un-elected mascot of the helicopter, severed and conjoined bodies contort into friezes to contour the aircraft’s corpus mass. Stretching veins of traffic below are intersected by searching searchlights. Like reaching a higher consciousness through brute survival, the chaos-in-flight transcends its own turmoil, resolved in a classically balanced composition. In Moderna, the rapture arrives in the form of a virus anthropomorphized as demon-angel who sails through burning embers over a familiar hillside, now a hell-scape engulfed.

Textured and kinetic canvases made in collaboration with Nikki Ochoa, Andrew Rutherdale, and Sam Newell focus on portraits of individuals that cumulatively constitute something more than a shared geographical location—a mutual constellation of references that synthesize a city’s ethos. Attributes are described by way of multiplying, decorating, fracturing, or abstracting subjects’ rutted portraits. Built-up and sculptured, their tactile surfaces share a storied coarseness that speak to conditions of economic exploitation and ruthless bureaucracy. Embedded within are the bits of things that accumulate to form the city—a seashell, dirt, wires, flowers.

As if forged from the tumultuous landscape of the exhibition’s paintings, figure studies in graphite locate their contours and break down in turn. In gestures ranging from loose to piercing, airy marks might imbue one sitter’s vulnerable volume as soft and effervescent, while jagged, sharp, and dense execution might define another’s frazzled temperament. Cascading lines silhouette the skin of some bodies while others expose their inner architectures of muscle, bone, and organs. Individually and collectively, Barrett’s expressive subjects pose and dance as if enchanted by a voracious drive towards becoming ungovernable.

Troy Barrett (b.1985, Red Bank, New Jersey) lives and works in Los Angeles where he founded the mobile art platform LUPERCAL in 2020. His work has been included in exhibitions with WERK, Los Angeles; Oasis, Los Angeles; Highlands, New Jersey; The Peddler, Long Branch; SICA “Sculptoure” Asbury Park, Long Branch; Art Kitchen, Newark; Alternative Art, San Luis Obispo; and Bishopʼs Peak, San Luis Obispo, among others. Barrett holds a BFA from  Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.