ART: Raymond J. Barry’s Butterflies, Words and Colors

And All For Nothing by Raymond J. Barry

Raymond J. Barry, winner of the Dramalogue Award and L.A. Drama Critics Award for Writing and Best Actor, is best known as an actor (Gotham, Training Day, Feud, 13 Reasons Why). But he’s also a prolific abstract painter. An exhibit of his brightly colored canvases, which often incorporate a large, camouflaged butterfly, is underway at The Lodge in Los Angeles through May 11th.

Color is the key ingredient of Barry’s “post-post-modern” paintings. The canvases are drenched in primary and secondary colors, all singing in unison like a well-oiled theatrical performance. They are intensely personal with no concern for the art world’s trends. Barry takes one of his journals (of which there are hundreds), and randomly picks a page. Then he projects a handful of words onto a canvas. The words are then traced, but now their true meaning or purpose has been taken away, leaving only remnants of thoughts and memories, utterances that hint at a source of conversation. The letters become spaces to fill with intense colors, essentially camouflaging them. The loop of a “J” or the curves of an “S” become the departure point for abstraction that flutters within line, form, and color. Other parts are made up of diagonal lines that hint at doorways or window panes, creating an internal structure. Colored dots are painted throughout like a daisy chain, bringing to mind Aboriginal art that depicts an abstraction of time and space, or within the context of Barry’s paintings, thought bubbles with indecipherable conversations.

— G. Dhalla.

Butterflies, Words and Colors at The Lodge through May 11th.