Bret Barrett is often described as one of the underground gems of the American Low Brow/Alternate/Pop-Surreal movement, and the first ever artist in history to sell the shadow of a sculpture. Since the early 1980s, Barrett has refined the intricacies and depth of his paintings, collages and kinetic sculptures, truly creating modern-day masterwork like none other in both appearance and operation.
Gears turn, balls spin, objects bounce, rattle, shake, roll, blink, flash, click, clank, whirl, rock, pop, slide, project unanticipatedly, balancing on the tiniest point or wire. Astonishingly whimsical motorized creations, all assembled from elements of discarded electronics and life-beaten junk. Clearly, inspirations of Jean Tinguely, Leonardo Da Vinci, Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, Eva Hesse, Arthur Ganson, and Max Ernst are evident throughout each piece.
With such spectacular animations and illustrations, Barrett is recognized for bringing life and interaction to every show and installation. His highly technical skill leaves an almost underestimated approach, evenly matched to a harsh expose of deconstructed concepts. A thought-provoking rarity, loved by Pacific Magazine, San Diego City Beat, PBS, Art Muscle, Fox News, and a variety of local publications from Milwaukee to San Diego.
After some formal training at MIAD and UWM, Barrett helped shape the Milwaukee art scene through community ArtWalks and founding Barn9 Gallery & Studios, creating space and support for local artists. A decade later, Barrett was called to the golden state and was soon heralded as a favorite in underground shows, gaining attention with several privately commissioned works and collaborations.
While his showcases are considered an experience of a lifetime, Barrett ultimately relishes in the integrity and universal entertainment factor behind his exploration. “I want anyone in the world from any country, any background, to look at my work and smile and laugh at our human disposition.”
“Momentarily heightening my awareness of the world around me, getting color to vibrate in my eyes and giving everyday objects an aura of expectancy”
“By breathing life into these geegaws, filling them with associations and metaphors, he maybe makes them more meaningful than they ever were”
“The sculptures are bestowed with electric life and show off both themselves and the ingenuity of their maker”
“The incorporation of unusual parts as part of the composition and meaning behind the individual piece”
“Rad and obsessively polished”
“It’s always exciting to see what weird creature he brings to life”
"His brain goes off in all kinds of fascinating directions”