Barnaby Furnas Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Barnaby Furnas


Oil on canvas

325 x 193 cm

Barnaby Furnas uses watercolour in a way it was never meant for: rivalling media sensation for the limelight of graphic seduction. Developing his own subversive world of cartoon ultra-violence, bizarrely populated by rock stars and Honest Abe look-a-likes, Furnas uses blood and guts as a means to flirt with abstraction and design. In Duel, two ex-presidents blow each other to shreds, simply for the sake of seeing the beauty of the carnage in slow motion.

Barnaby Furnas
Hamburger Hill


Urethane on linen

182.9 x 304.8cm

Barnaby Furnas’s paintings address contemporary image construction through traditional means. Adhering to painterly convention Furnas mixes his own paint by adding pigment to urethane, a technique that results in radiant finish and pure vibrant colour. Conveying the high-impact dynamism of filmic violence, his canvases merge depicted narrative and formal concern. In pieces such as Hamburger Hill, action is played out in performative brushwork and striated composition: gun powder explosions and gory splatter are represented through simplified gesture, movement is directed through drawn and implied lines. Combining the strategies of cartooning with the decadence of high art, Furnas conceives painting as a media entrenched in historical lineage and constantly expanding to encompass new attitudes of viewing.

Barnaby Furnas
Flood (Red Sea)


330.2 x 762 cm

Reminiscent of Rothko’s vast contemplative fields, Barnaby Furnas’s Flood (Red Sea) draws upon the associations of Abstract Expressionism. Spanning over 7 meters, Flood (Red Sea) construes the transcendental as sheer power. Obliterating the serene blue ‘sky’ with frenzied swipes of red, Furnas presents a landscape as an encompassing plane of colour and texture that literally engulfs the viewer in spectacle. Incorporating biblical reference in the title, Furnas layers his abstraction as allegory, merging painting’s formal and narrative traditions in a tableau of apocalyptic beauty.

Barnaby Furnas
Untitled (Effigy II)


Urethane, spirits on burnt calf skin vellum

71.1 x 45.7 cm

Using his materials to replicate bodily substance, Barnaby Furnas’s Untitled (Effigy II) is executed on the membrane surface of calf-skin vellum. Charred, punctured, and adorned with tattoo-like script, his figure sits as an emblem of torment and catharsis. Adopting the timeless and immortal qualities of portraiture, Furnas exposes the stretcher and canvas to both undermine and appropriate painting’s function as illusion. In revealing the image as a construction, Furnas evokes a sense of occult mysticism. Bringing to mind Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, or Poe’s The Oval Portrait, Furnas cossets the idea of representation as a black art.

Barnaby Furnas


305 x 231cm

In creating Tapestry, Barnaby Furnas captures the vibrant fluidity characteristic of his oil and watercolour paintings. His complex layered and gestural painting style is uncannily replicated in the premeditation of graphic design. Utilising the historical craft of weaving, Furnas places his rock concert on a par with historical depictions of epic battles and heroic royalty. Violence, chaos and pagan hype become immortalised as decorative patterns. Razor sharp light beams, tie-dyed psychedelia and clamouring mosh-pit lose their threatening edge, traded instead for a more monumental documentation, distanced and glorified through the time-honoured tactility of hand-crafted fabric.

Barnaby Furnas's Biography

Barnaby Furnas
Born in 1973, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Lives and works in New York


Fort Worth, Modern Art Museum, States of Glory

London, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, The Intimates

San Francisco, Anthony Meier Fine Arts, the lesser light
Denver, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Closed Loop
London, Stuart Shave/Modern Art, All At Once

Fort Worth, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Focus: Barnaby Furnas

New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery
San Francisco, Anthony Meier Fine Arts

Gateshead, UK, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, (catalogue)
New York, Lever House, Apocalypse

London, Modern Art Inc

New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery

New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery


Milan, Monica De Cardenas Galleria
Brussels, VanhaerentsArtCollection, Sympathy for the devil
Buffalo, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Surveyor, curated by Heather Pesanti
Boston, Stephen D. Paine Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Inside the Painter's Studio

New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Works on Paper
Ibaraki, Japan, Kasama Nichido Museum
New York, The National Arts Club, Contemporary Magic: A Tarot Deck Art Project, November 2010. Travels to Pittsburgh, the Andy Warhol Museum
Tel Aviv, Hezi Cohen Gallery, Fresh Apples
Beijing, The Ullens Center (UCCA), Roundtrip: Beijing-New York Now

New York, The Metropolitan Opera, Something About Mary
New York, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, The Audio Show
New York, The FLAG Art Foundation, WALL ROCKETS: Contemporary Artists and Ed Ruscha

Houston, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, The Old, Weird America, curated by Toby Kamps, May 10 – July 20, 2008; Travels to DeCordova, Lincoln, MA; Frye Art Museum, Seattle,
London, White Cube Hoxton and Shoreditch Town Hall, You Dig the Tunnel, I’ll Hide the Soil, curated by Harland Miller, April Champaign, Illinois, Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, Blown Away, curated by Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox
New York, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Under Pain of Death, curated by Kunsthalle Wien
(Gerald Matt, Ilse Lafer) and Abraham Orden

Vienna, Kunsthalle Wien, True Romance. Allegories of Love from the Renaissance to the Present
Athens, Deste Foundation, The Fractured Figure
Vienna, Kunsthalle Wien and Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Dream and Trauma: Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection
Shanghai, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, Art in America: Now - Contemporary portion of Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation, organized by the Guggenheim Museum
Moscow, Traveling exhibition: Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts; Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao
Germany, Zentrum fuer Kunst und Medientechnologie, Between Two Deaths
Cincinnati, Contemporary Arts Center, The Old, Weird America
Virginia Beach, Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Counterparts: Contemporary Painters and their Influences, (catalogue), London, Stuart Shave/Modern Art Inc., Effigies

New York, Paul Kasmin Gallery, Surrealism: Then and Now
London, The Royal Academy of Arts, in collaboration with the Saatchi Gallery, USA Today
New York, Marvelli Gallery, Nightmares of Summer, curated by George Robertson
Munich, Sammlung Goetz, Imagination Becomes Reality, Part IV: Borrowed Images, June 26 – September 30, 2006; travels to Museum for Neue Kunst, Karlsruhe
New York, The Arnold and Marie Schwartz Gallery, Metropolitan Opera, Inaugural Exhibition

Colorado, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, PILLish: Harsh Realities and Gorgeous Destinations,

New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Seeing Other People
New York, National Academy of Design, 179 Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary Art (catalogue)
New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, 2004 Whitney Biennial
Long Island City, New York, Dorsky Gallery, Watercolor Worlds,
New York, School of Visual Arts, Visual Arts Gallery, Beginning Here: 101 Ways

Austria, Kunsthalle Wien, Go Johnny Go
Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, War (What Is It Good For?)
Los Angeles, Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Funny Papers: Cartoons and Contemporary Drawing
New York, Derek Eller Gallery, Transnational Monster League, curated by Banks Violette
New York, Metro Pictures, Drawings

Bologna, Italy, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Officina Americana
Los Angeles, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibition, The Fourth Annual Altoids Curiously Strong Collection

New York, Marianne Boesky Gallery,
Brooklyn, Bellwether, All American

New York, Exit Art, Collector’s Choice, New York, Artist’s Space, Project Room January 29 – April 29, 2000
New York, P.P.O.W. Gallery, “@”, curated by Jason Murison

New York, Freidrich Petzel Gallery, “All Terrain,”
New York, Lombard Fried Gallery, “Urban Romantics,”