Focus on artist Adrian Barrientes

From VSA and writer Nathan Segura: a close look at VSA and artist Adrian Barrientes' "SLEEM"

In SLEEM, a video installation tainted of pink, blue, white, and yellow, created by artist Adrian Barrientes, draws us to the realms of food and flesh. His sickening and sometimes vicious mish-mash of images are framed by the rigid black edges of the TV screen. With imagination and reflection, Barrientes points out how, in the digital age, we use neutral and cold technological devices to record our most intimate bodily experiences. Through his generous sense of the decorative, Adrian Barrientes disorients us with a symphony of colors, objects, and forms. This digital assemblage is an all over composition that rejects any sense of hierarchical organization –no part dominates another. Barrientes evenly distributes attention throughout the canvas, a practice associated with American painter Jackson Pollock. Unlike the abstract expressionists, however, Barrientes avoids focusing on the unconscious and brings to the image objects that belong to the outside and the mundane. The vivid mélange of objects fades into abstraction as the viewer backs away from the print. A close look at the piece, however, triggers conflicting feelings. Indeed, the colorful assortments of objects is simultaneously engaging and unsettling. The textures and colors of the composition are soft and fanciful; yet, the unpredictable presence of an eye vein, a butthole, and a dildo bring a disturbing edge to the work. Whether the piece pleases or displease is irrelevant –what is admirable is the way in which Barrientes combines, through an unfocused openness, objects and body parts, as well as the commercial world and the private intimate life. Through SLEEM, Barrientes manages to tame the overwhelming flow of images that pervades all domains of life, by outputting it back to us via the palpable new slime he has created.