The Big Flood

Like a hypodermic needle to the eyeball, the paintings of Barnaby Furnas are not meant for easy viewing. Nor are you intended to come away from them without a sting: At times amusing, anxious and apocalyptic, the New York-based artist specializes in a kinetic, frenetic expressionism that wields abstraction like a surgeon does a scalpel.

That's not to say there isn't a strong figurative thrust to Furnas's work — in “Flood (Red Sea),” a whopping 25-foot-long canvas conjures everything from dead sunsets to bloody tides, and the sculptural heft of his homemade polyurethane paints draws an almost eerie depth and texture from the surface. Despite the vivid grimness and overwhelming scale of many of his paintings, Furnas has a playful side, too, one that leaks out in laughing, jagged lines and slashes — not to mention the fact that admission to tonight's opening of Floods: A Really Big Exhibition, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, is "5 cents for students, artists and guys named Barnaby, 10 cents for everyone else." The show opens to the public at 7 p.m. The MCA is at 1485 Delgany Street; for more info, call 303-298-7554 or visit
Fri., Sept. 25, 7 p.m., 2009

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Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller