Paris 1951 - 1956
After graduating from the Corcoran in 1951 Barnett relocated to Paris and enrolled in Ecole Fernand Léger. During this time Barnett produced a series of canvases inspired by Léger cubistic style that proved to be very successful and were exhibited several galleries in back in America. Also at this time that Barnett married Martha McKay a fellow Corcoran graduate and Legér student. Barnett would soon paint under the name of Thomas Mather and later change it back to Barnett. Barnett father a son while in Paris naming him André.
After graduating from Ecole Fernand Léger Barnett produced several surrealistic canvases possibly influenced by the French painter André Breton before breaking away from subject based art all together and embraced abstract art. Influenced by fellow artist Simone Huntai and the art of the Japanese “Gutai” group Barnett produced a series of abstracts paintings, which culminated in a successful one-man show at Gallery Huit. His wife, pursuing abstract art and the art of the informel found international success with her contact and mentor Michel Tapié. The couple was introduced to New York City gallery owner Martha Jackson and was encouraged to relocate to New York. Both signed contractual agreements with the Martha Jackson gallery.
New York 1956 - 1961
Arriving first in Brooklyn Barnett found a cold-water flat on Canal Street in Manhattan to set-up his studio. He produced a large abstract (67”x76”) painting that he entitled “Saturn” and with Jackson’s help the painting was accepted into the 1958 Whitney Museum Annual. The initial success would be undermined later by an argument Barnett’s wife had with Jackson about her one women show that led to the severing of the gallery agreement with both artists. That set back didn’t last long as Barnett’s body of work impressed New York Gallery owner Betty Parson that she schedule a one-man show in the fall of 1961. Unfortunately the show never came about due to a suicide attempt by Barnett’s wife and subsequent hospitalization for a bi-polar mental condition. Barnett and family would relocated to Maryland.
Maryland 1961 - 2008
Barnett continued to pursue his art career while juggling his family responsibilities along with a career in art education and a career as a freelance photographer. A chance meeting with Jackson produced a brief reconciliation that ended upon her death in 1969. Eventually divorcing McKay and remarrying years later Barnett’s abandon abstract expressionism for subject based art. The female nude was a reoccurring theme. The resume page lists his accomplishments.
Gouache on paper 1956