Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Talking about Peter Barrickman's new work

Mary Louise Schumacher

There is something about an artist whose work you've gravitated to powerfully from the start. It's like imprinting. It's hard to shake that kind of attachment, and sometimes that means one gives whatever follows a lot of room to change and, even, fail.


I've really loved -- yes, I'll use that word -- Peter Barrickman's work since I first encountered it at Inova in 2003. It's work that I get lost in, in a very particular way. This was true of his Green Gallery show with Nicholas Frank in 2006 (in the now burned down Center St. building), and it was especially true of his Nohl installation in 2010, where Barrickman's paintings just glowed.


When I saw his most recent show at the Green Gallery, I was prepared, once again, to be swallowed up, aesthetically and conceptually. But this work threw me. It didn't satisfy me in the same way, at least at first, and I'm still puzzling through why. Art City contributor Rafael Salas has also admired Barrickman's work, and we started an email exchange about our reactions, ultimately deciding that he'd write a review.


A few weeks ago, I ran into artist Santiago Cucullu on the street. It was a cold night. I shared with him how changed the works were in my experience of them. He suggested that we all get together and talk about it informally, which is what we did today.


My brain is now slowly melting inside my skull. We let Peter do most of the talking, which is exactly what you want to do. He has so many ideas nested inside one another. It really something to hear him talk about his work. While Santiago's work is quite different, he talks about his own practice in a similar way, so it was interesting to watch their interaction. I mostly let them talk and noticed I was getting lost again, in that familiar way.



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December 7, 2012