“The Mirror,” Will Barnet. Collection of what used to be the Arkansas Arts Center. Now becoming AMFA, Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts. A young woman combing her hair. I remember the first time I saw this painting. I walked through the lobby, took a right through the glass doors and ran into it, visually, like I’d face-planted into a wall. Stunned. Here was a kindred spirit. I didn’t know who Will Barnet was at the time, but found that his vision is parallel to mine. Structured composition, refined contours, intimate subjects. Balthus also fought in this arena. Graphic design as fine art. I count seven flat colors filling the shapes. Some value texture within, but each hue is distinct. Like a paper cut collage or a block print.


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