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Oh Henry!


 

"Barry Rockwell is a strikingly original artist, as witty as he is droll, and a master of post-modern mischief, for his paintings can bridge the space between the Colonial portrait and the Pop image by bracketing the two together within the space of a single panel. I have enjoyed for years a portrait of a deacon, as stern as Cotton Mather, who wears a high white stock and an expression of surprise gluttony. His bony hand plunges into a bag of twentieth century Cheese Doodles, one of which springs into the air in front of his suspicious eyes, demonstrating that snacks too have free will. The supermarket furnishes the artist with emblems that comment on those he portrays - Joy for Beethoven, Fritos for Frieda, Cheeses for Jesus, Friskies for Whiskers, a phallic Oh Henry bar that takes the words out of Anne Boleyn's naughty mouth, a can of Reddi Whip for a dominatrix as imagined by Botero, and much more. One has always known that shopping and seeing art were parallel processes - but Rockwell has combined them into a single market basket of wicked fun."

- Arthur C. Danto, Art Critic, The Nation