15 Bytes | 2012 | Exhibition Reviews | Visual Arts

Drawing Together: Cassandra Barney & Brian Kershisnik

The difference between illustration and art is that, in the latter, the final goal isn’t known until it’s reached. This show might have proved the futility of artist’s collaborating, but in works like this, where the first mark has been followed by another, and another, until the unified, irresistible image appeared to first one, then the other artist, and now to anyone who cares enough to look, there is proof that collaboration, like collage, prepared ground, Exquisite Corpse, or any of a host of other techniques, is a valid way of making art.

A look at Cassandra Barney and Brian Kershisnik’s collaborative drawings now up at Kayo Gallery. Read the review in the August 2012 edition of 15 Bytes.

Geoff Wichert has degrees in critical writing and creative nonfiction. He writes about art to settle the arguments going on in his head.

4 replies »

  1. Thanks for the review of this show. These two artists are among my favorites; the work sounds intriguing and I plan to see it! Would have loved to see more images of the actual work, since I live more than 100 miles from the gallery.
    Thank you for your thoughtful and informative comments about the backgrounds and philosophies of the two artists
    Cordially, Lynn Farrar

  2. Thank you Lynn. I do what I do at 15 Bytes without compensation, and I fight for artists like these not because they’re popular, but because I think their popularity keeps other artists from acknowledging those things they do well. I don’t know Cassandra Barney, but I have met and interviewed Brian Kershisnik and he is not only a gifted painter, but a consummate professional who manages to make everyone who approaches him feel important. That’s a gift of another kind, and also one that goes unappreciated too often on the art scene.
    But my reason for writing is to say two things: images of these works proved difficult, because there is only one of each and they are framed under glass: as you will notice in the review, photos of them are affected by glare and reflections. Some were marginal, others impossible. And, sadly, the show runs through the 11th of August, so don’t delay your trip.
    Again, thank you for your generous comments. You are the person for whom I write.
    geoff wichert

  3. Geoff-
    I wanted your review to go on and on! Born and raised mostly in Utah, I am, of course, intrigued by your idea of, “the Utah School.” Thank you for your article.

    I enjoyed working with Brian on this collaboration. We have a similar approach as we deal artistically with our ideas and we found that it was exciting to respond to each other’s images. We both started off a little timid. The unspoken cultural rules about not drawing on another person’s drawings are pretty tough to overcome. I don’t even draw on my kid’s drawings. But to be honest, it felt liberating and enjoyable to be so rebellious. As I responded to Brian’s drawings and he responded to mine, I found it amazing that new meanings were instantly generated in the work, even for images and techniques that we both regularly use. Perhaps this is like generating new poems from old words.

    Lynn- I have posted a few images on my blog and will post more. (see http://churningsandburnings.blogspot.com)

    Cassandra

  4. Dear Cassandra-
    Funny thing! . . . when I write about art like yours, I also want the review to go on and on. My friends tell me I need to join that 12-step program for people with too much to say. You know, On-and-On Anon.

    I enjoy listening to Brian, and now you, talk about your work because you both focus on the process, on what it feels like for you to draw and beyond, rather than trying to anticipate the future. Brian likes to depict himself as just as much a spectator as anyone else, sometimes just as much in the dark about what a picture means. I like that, compared to the many artists today who start with a message and then try to find a way to send it. Maybe they should call Western Union. I, too, liked the way your style and his were transformed by contact, like two highly reactive elements that couldn’t help transforming each other. As each adds to what’s already there, it changes . . . like the way a new art work changes what’s already there in life.

    Thank you for taking the interest and time to read my thoughts so generously.
    geoff

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