Dan Barry’s Art: My First Recall Of Pansies

Most people I know either condemn social media, secretly rely on it, or just refuse to contemplate change. Even the diehard protesters, though, seem to have come around. They may never admit such, but will all know that secretly they explore Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Once that happens, the die is indeed cast.

I have been on Facebook since the summer of ’09 and on WordPress since early last year. (Prior to that I posted my blog, Tartuffe’s Folly, on Posterous which was bought out and dissolved.) In the five years I have established many new relationships or rekindled others. Many are with artists from all over the world of Hopeful Surrealism.

Austin artist Dan Barry was the first such new friend. The introduction particulars escape me but, as they say in the South albeit deeper than here: “That don’t make no never mind.” Since then I’ve “met” many people and respond usually to those that share my obscure aesthetic or humor.

Dan’s collages at once stirred me with their emotional nostalgia and the gentle, extremely thoughtful assembly and ink details. They are wonderfully augmented with modernisms and often conflicting points of reference.

The first of Barry’s ethereal collections that reeled me in was one involving pansies, rich hues, and meticulously printed and tiny text. Anthropomorphism is, perhaps, my favorite type of Surrealism, at least in that it often appeals to the child within. Many of the older, Victorian examples can be more clever and detailed than contemporary ones.

But I digress, as is my nature.

I will skip my sweet, initial recollection of pansies, their faces, and their world. I’ll save my initial feelings about being an older brother. My sister Polly was a newborn and I was in kindergarten in Chapel Hill. The elderly couple across the street devoted their entire front yard to their love for the deceptively sturdy flower. They were my best friends at the time, at least until I was in first grade.

The 1500 sq ft lot became a brilliant, multicolored, and intricate canvas, save for the cobblestone path. I could sit on that patchwork bed for hours. I’d readily imagine that I was in some magical kingdom, safely tucked away in Chapel Hill. (Mind you, that “elderly” couple was probably in their 40’s at the time.)

Their surname is long lost in the cavernous recesses of my memory. As I mentioned, I won’t bore you, Gentle Readers, with further details.

I do remember, however, visuals that evoke my young emotions and wonderment. A snapshot of our neighbors’ flowers is on page five of my life’s secret album. There might even be one of that velvet bower’s infinite blooms pressed between pages.

I’ll also always remember Dan and his beautiful work. And the subtle paths our friendships follow.

(All images are by Dan Barry.)

Barry’s 2014 Shows Include:
Welcome to the Dreamtime – Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
– Galeria Safia, Barcelona, Spain
Mysterium Cosmographicum – Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Small Indignities – Red Truck Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Post-It Show
– Giant Robot, Los Angeles, CA
Don’t Wake Daddy Group Show
– Feinkunst Krüger, Hamburg, Germany

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