Artist : Laurens Barnard (laubar): A Brief Profile
The quiet near unassuming outward manner of artist Laurens Barnard belies an active creative life that has of late come full circle.

The artist, entrepreneur and visionary . 

The quiet near unassuming outward manner of artist Laurens Barnard belies an active creative life that has of late come full circle.
Born in 1957, Barnard has been aware of his artistic vocation since boyhood. At the Pretoria based Hendrik Verwoerd High School, his art master Mr Potgieter gave the initial impetus by awarding him 100% for a project in exchange for acquiring the selfsame work. This early accomplishment sparked off Barnard's frenetic career as local visual arts practitioner.

Shortly after matriculating, Barnard enrolled as a fine arts student at the Pretoria Technikon. During this period, the lure of the cinematic industry caused him to change midstream followed by a number of prolific years in film production. His personal highlights dating back to this sojourn through the milieu of cinema, is his former function as film-editor of the 1982 TV series entitled "Koöperasie Stories" under the direction of Koos Roets, working closely with his mentor Jans Rautenbach for four years and including, Shoprite adverts (interactively) promoted by characters in the current popular Afrikaans TV soapie - 7de Laan. In total Barnard was involved in eight hundred film productions spanning a fecund Thirty years in the industry.

    

Having traversed full circle by returning to his original love of painting, Laurens Barnard draws inspiration from a specific visual flow peculiar to the art of filmmaking. Closer observation of his approach to paint application on canvas, revealingly expresses a characteristic flow not necessarily encountered in the imagery of other painters, present or past.


His oeuvre is however in terms of application reminiscent of certain parallels relative to 

(20th century) French Fauvist and German Expressionist School. In contrast to the latter art movement Barnard's imagery encompasses a far greater state of 'Joeie de Vivre' as opposed to 'Angst' ridden visual distortion in his overall technical execution.

Despite an emphasis on humour, closer observation does reveal an underlying concern with the lesser apparent ambiguities of gender related issues, eg. half-moustached half bearded human males appearing with calculated regularity in his work. On a deeper psycho-social level these labile male depictions may be representative of the (currently debated) systematic disintegration of our long established feminine phobic patriarchal culture. 

Conclusively speaking, his colourful imagery is there to be spontaneously relished in terms of a beckoning conceptual free flow. Such, is the core essence unique to the radiant allure inherent in the artistry of Laurens Barnard as revealed during a recent visit to his Studio in Pretoria.


Playful, whimsical sentimental celebratory vibrant lyrical .The visual metaphors enthuse alluding to a mythological bourgeoisie, a separate untouched unsullied dream world where every inflection is catered for.
Inflections of vivid color, textural contrasts gathered together by sinuous lines operating some time as design separate from the image punctuating rhythm and , flow and composition.


At other time line becomes the plane the very essence of body parts and faces.

On first inspection the images are bizarre unreal and weirdly ornamental. The color invites you to luxuriate and gives the viewer first access into the work.

I the artist playing with his public or is he inviting you to play along. The intriguing simplicity and the comparisons to other successful contemporary artist coupled with Laurens’s prodigious output 813 paintings in 13 years and to boot the largest single gallery in Africa (Brooklyn Bridge 2014-2015) , leave you wandering.

Nevertheless there belies a balance and metaphorical balance with the half women half man described by half moustached figures. 


Life is celebrated with a vivid asinine use of color where complementary color and harmonies of color abound.
The work art historically finds parallels art historically to Marc Chagall and closer to home Nina Romm. 

Fantasy collides with the figurative and color is use in such an abstract manner that the viewer is left to reexamine content based on the dislocation of the two elements. 

Content can be broken down stylistically into two. While the singular overarching theme remains the enjoyable and peculiar things in life.


The first is iconic portraiture and the second is figure or faces in groups.
The mask like quality seems to allude to every man divorced of race and in many works non gender specific. The child like naivety ends though at that point. 


Colour anchors the images. The keen use and exquisite variation of it is what places the work outside the commercial everyday run of the mill work.


Grand scale and overall balance with attention to small detail and the dialogue between bird and man , man and drink and even sexual plays show there is a sophistication and language more real than the stylistic simplicity implies.
The face and human form as vehicle of expression find itself in acid greens cerruleum blues and cadmium yellows.
The author of the “other worlds” imagination knows no bounds. There is such a limitless variety of colour mark making and texture that it never seems to dry up and in that lies Laurens’s integrity the work always fresh always vibrant and quirky with a twist.

Political psycho sexual commentary are comfortably viewed from ouside the artists world by the viewer.