Scottsdale USA – Alchemy and the Sculpture of Michael Barbaric share at least one thing in common. Each selects materials of little apparent value. It is only with skilled/artful manipulation( plus a pinch of magic)that these same materials become transformed into rare and exotic commodities which are then held in high esteem and revered by one and all. Barbaric is a naïve. He approaches his art with a mind unfettered by theory and formal dogma. The materials for his sculptures are discovered purely by chance while walking through the forest. The unique, the more ubiquitous shapes are the more likely to be chosen.
“Ponderosa Pine” and “Gamble Oak” are the most frequently selected. The tree limbs have been lying upon the forest floor for hundreds of years decaying and becoming forest “Merz”.Some of the limbs are protected from within due to a concentration of sap and pitch. Mike will drag his forest treasure for three to four miles over rough terrain. Color and color texture relationships play a significant role in the overall success of the sculpture.
Surfaces are enhanced by way of the subtle interaction of texture and color. The current Sculpture of Michael Barbaric is a collage of cut and paste hip hop genera with a touch of early Surrealism. The works are provocative by way of their simplicity. There is no shortage of witt in his artwork. Humor is directed towards satire while cloaked within human associations. Barbaric’s work is often mischievous but never malicious.
Critique by, James C. O’Hara Professor Emeritus Northern Arizona University