© 2011 Philippe Vermès
About Barry Spann
Barry Spann is an international artist whose work is in many collections worldwide, including those of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, London's Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. Born in Dickson, Tennessee, in 1948, he began drawing at age three and studying painting at six. He divides his time between Knoxville and Paris.
Vaulted Space, a one-man exhibition of new paintings, at The District Gallery, Knoxville, ran from 4 October to 30 November 2019.
The one-man exhibit 21 Still Lifes was presented at The District Gallery from 6 to 28 October 2017.
Mountain landscapes have been an important part of the Barry Spann catalogue for many years. Oil on canvas and paper, these paintings have been exhibited widely in the United States and Europe and are in numerous public and private collections.
In 1990, he was commissioned by Whittle Communications to produce the artwork for its new headquarters in Knoxville. The resulting million-dollar project, the largest of its kind in Tennessee history, culminated less than two years later in twenty-eight enormous mountain landscapes on thirty-nine canvases. The complex is today the Howard H. Baker Jr. United States Courthouse and most of the original paintings remain.
In 2013, Barry Spann was commissioned by the Paris-based Opéra de Poche to paint décor for a series of chamber operas, scores by Evan Fein, libretti by Emily Anderson. The Island of the Ugly Sisters had its world premiere in Paris in 2013, City of Ashes in 2015. The Asia premiere of City of Ashes was in Beijing in 2016. The 2017 world premiere of Narcissa took place in Bléré, Val de Loire.
From his original series of graphite drawings, Barry Spann produced Twenty-Seven Landscapes: 1977–1983, 1984, a livre d'artiste of collotype prints. It is the last such work published in association with the Trianon Press, Paris, a fine books publisher known for its collaboration with Britain's William Blake Trust as well as a succession of books done with Marc Chagall, Georges Rouault, Marcel Duchamp, and Ben Shahn. Nicolas Barker, OBE, formerly Deputy Keeper of the British Library, has called it 'a tour de force both artistic and technical.'
The Pursuit of Happy Results
A book about Barry Spann and the making of Twenty-Seven Landscapes, The Pursuit of Happy Results by Emily Anderson, was published in 1991 by David R. Godine, Boston. The introductory note is by Nicolas Barker.