Mitchel Barrett’s evocative and poignant artworks tenderly expose fractures within human nature with exquisite and erudite attention. The artworks propel the viewer to honestly reflect upon their own internal healing, while also observing the psychological foibles of a wider society. Yet, there is a charming optimism deep within Barrett’s conceptual compositions; therein lies a delicate sense of harmony that overwhelms the viewer with a feeling of reassurance. The artist’s gentle affinity with his subjects and his ability to spark deep thought in the viewer never cease to waver as his creativity delves into a myriad of mediums, each one masterfully executed with adroit balance and grace.
The Japanese ethos of ‘wabi sabi’, in which imperfections are seen as beautiful occurrences to be celebrated, is perfectly encompassed by Barrett’s artworks who transposes this meaning and applies it on an individual basis. This harbours an intrinsically personal resonance as an acceptance of transience emanates from each piece to those who gaze upon them. In this regard, strong cognitive and emotive ties can be denoted with Kitagawa Utamaro as both artists capture their subjects in candid situations that proffer an academic analysis of the human experience. The sincerity of these compositions intuitively connects with the viewer and conveys the internal cogitations of the artist with striking flare.
Particularly when observing Barrett’s sculptural work, firm cerebral connections can be detected with George Segal through the strong relationships created between the figures depicted; the expressive nature of the subjects’ body language is demonstrative of an intellectual analysis of a flawed society. Barrett’s extraordinary ability to communicate the nuances of the figure’s subconscious vulnerabilities reflects the artist’s astute and contemplative nature, which he instinctively translates via his artform.
Throughout Barrett’s ouvre there are notable links with Edward Hopper; indeed, there is a discernibly voyeuristic perspective that can be found in the works of these artists as the viewer appears to be peering in at another’s psyche or entering a private moment. This contributes to the poetically primordial sense of mortal consciousness that is at the forefront of each of Barrett’s compositions. With this in mind, philosophical connections with George Grosz and Otto Dix are palpable to an attentive observer, as each of these artists fervently seek to represent the splintered incongruities of the human spirit, which is especially prevalent when considering ‘Dorian Gray’ and ‘Together in Brokenness’.
It is impossible to ignore Barrett’s proclivity for the surreal, particularly when contemplating 'Equus Unity', which suggests symbolic correspondences with Andre Breton and Dorothea Tanning. This piece proposes to coalesce the juxtaposing elements that contribute to the complex nexus of the individual. Further ties can be surmised with Hans Bellmer through the emblematic use of distorted and ethereal figures to proffer the viewer with a remarkably visceral and self reflective interpretation of the composition, while also pondering the profound meanings heralded within the artwork.
Throughout his oeuvre, Barrett gifts the viewer with a rare and sensitive perspective of humanity. Barrett phenomenally unifies a vast spectrum of art history with an undeniably contemporary point of view, as he unequivocally draws into focus elements of modernity with a congenital sense of knowledge and understanding. The fragmented souls he depicts have limitless elements to consider, and embolden the spectator by extending a thought provoking study of the internal societal psyche.