Barry Spann is an international artist whose work is in many collections worldwide, including the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, London's Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. He was born in Dickson, Tennessee, in 1948, began drawing at three and studying painting at six. He learned printmaking at the University of Tennessee, and in 1978 began an association with the Trianon Press, Paris, producing the collotype livre d'artiste Twenty-Seven Landscapes, 1984. Barry Spann is now a painter. He divides his time between Knoxville and Paris.
Barry Spann's new series of paintings is the subject of the current one-man exhibition, Vaulted Space, at The District Gallery, Knoxville. The show runs from 4 October to 16 November 2019.
Barry Spann's one-man exhibit 21 Still Lifes was presented at The District Gallery, from 6 October 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 many 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 with scores by Evan Fein and 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 world premiere of Narcissa took place in Bléré, Val de Loire, 30 September 2017.
Twenty-Seven Landscapes: 1977–1983
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
The Pursuit of Happy Results by Emily Anderson, the book about Barry Spann and the making of Twenty-Seven Landscapes, was published in 1991 by David R. Godine, Boston. The introductory note is by Nicolas Barker.
About Barry Spann
© 2011 Philippe Vermès