Martin Barré: Extreme Abstraction

Martin Barre, 67-Z-21, 1967, glycerophtalic and acrylic paint on canvas, 20 3/4
Martin Barré, 67-Z-21, 1967, glycerophtalic and acrylic paint on canvas, 20 3/4 x 19 1/4 inches (© Martin Barre ADAGP 2015, courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels)

Gwenaël Kerlidou considers the oeuvre of Martin Barré, comparing and contrasting his work to that of Frank Stella and Jasper Johns.

Kerlidou observes that "Stella and Barré both reject illusionism and its implications of space deeper than the surface of the painting. Both also reject the seduction of the expressionist touch, advocating instead a neutral, workmanlike brush mark, at least through the ’70s for Stella. Finally, both organize the progression of their work in a series of series. For them, space is both painting’s primary subject and their primary subject, but they approach it from diametrically opposite angles, diverging on how to define the limits of 'literal' space. Where Stella begins with the assumption that a painting is first and foremost an object, Barré assumes that a painting is first and foremost a conceptual and historical construct... "