Jack Barth

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Jack Barth
Chiaroscuro in the Image I
Oil on linenblock paper.
9 1/4 x 7 3/4 inches (23.5 x 19.7 cm)
Gift of Peter Freeman.
The artist (BlumHelman Gallery, New York); Peter Freeman, New York

Barth works almost exclusively on paper with ink, charcoal, and watercolor. He developed his practice in the 1970s in part in response to the metaphysical abstractions of Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt, but he also draws inspiration from Romantic art and literature. Barth considers smaller works such as this one to be drawings, while his larger works on paper correspond more closely to an idea of painting. This sheet is the first in a series of small "Chiaroscuro in the Image" drawings related to larger works in charcoal that draw on the imagery of Central Park. He created this abstract drawing by applying oil-based woodblock-printing ink on paper that had been soaked in minerals for several days. Barth says, "I manipulate the black ink with brushes to modulate the viscosity of the ink into various tonal registers, space, and images. I start at the top of the page and work down to the bottom until finished."

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