Surround Sound



Highlight is pleased to present Surround Sound, its first solo exhibition with Australian artist, Ben Barretto.

The exhibition is open from March 20th through April 26th, 2014, with an opening reception for the artist on March 20th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

Ben Barretto works across the mediums of painting, sculpture, performance, installation and sound. His work is often driven by his direct and immediate response to materials, an inventive collaboration between medium and process, which is evident in some form across all of his various works.

For Surround Sound, Barretto will be presenting a series of new paintings and new sculptural works, the prominent series in the exhibition utilize the paint finish and hardware of a classic electric guitar. In this series Barretto assembles materials specific to the process of custom guitar making recognizing this as a system within which he can compose. In this way, the artist is continuing his method of reconfiguring found materials and processes which he has previously explored in his ‘snap pant’ works and his ‘painting paintings’.

This series of works are made using guitar paint (Automotive Urethane) in classic fender colors with various guitar hardware; jack plates, pick guards, straps, buttons and guitar cables. In these works Barretto is essentially creating drawings or collages, using the colored power leads to make his marks on the slick monochrome base while also suggesting a closed circuit within each work by plugging the leads into jack plates at both ends. The absence of electricity running though each piece and their impossibility of creating music depicts an attention toward visual composition out of materials usually used to articulate a musical composition.

Through this arrangement of paint and hardware, the works retain the essence of a ‘sound work’ in spite of the absence of audible sound.

The second series in the exhibition consist of raw canvas stretched on custom sculpted frames. Inspired by car panels, these works approximate the contours and dents found on automotive bodies and the decal illustrations that often overlay them.

A guitar cable which runs the entire height of the space connects the gallery ceiling at one end and the gallery floor at the other, highlighting the gallery space and it’s role in the artist’s overall composition.

Ben Barretto was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1985 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He graduated with a BA from Curtin University in 2010 and was awarded Honors in 2011 when he was selected as a visiting scholar to the École Nationale Supérieur d’Art in Dijon, France. He has exhibited extensively in Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth and has had solo exhibitions in San Francisco and at the Untitled Art Fair, Miami Beach.