Lynda Barry's Everything

Lynda Barry made a big impression on me when I was in art school.  She was a visiting artist and as a member of the student group that brought her to campus I escorted her to the lecture hall to speak to probably a hundred or hundred and fifty students, faculty and fans. It was the first time I'd escorted a speaker and I was pretty surprised to find she was nervous. Obviously I was young, but it was the first time I'd realized that professional artists were subjected to the same complex set of emotions that I was. As I was wrapping my head around that idea Lynda Barry started pacing the hall, making little jumps and swinging her arms, she told us she was getting ready while we listened to the speaker at the front of the room introduce her. When the intro was complete she burst in through the back of the room, jogging down that university auditorium aisle until she got to the podium and then exploded with enthusiasm and kept the crowd in the palm of her hand for over an hour.  It was an amazing learning experience, it helped me understand that I could do that, I could confront my anxieties about being an artist, speaking in public.

Confronting anxieties has always been part of her cartoons which is probably why their loved and why she has a large survey exhibition at Baumgold. I was delighted to read Ken Johnson's review of Lynda Barry's show at Baumgold. Johnson writes
Ms. Barry’s magical skills as cartoonist, writer and storyteller are at their richest in the many more or less autobiographical tales told by a goofy, smart, economically underprivileged young girl namedMarlys. They concern her tragicomic adventures and those of her sister Maybonne, her beloved, emotionally troubled brother Freddie, their chronically enraged mother and many other neighborhood eccentrics. Laugh-out-loud funny in one frame and heartbreaking in the next, these tales of innocence and experience belong on the shelf with Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn.” more

Lynda Barry, What is an Image? (Page 8), c. 2008
Drawing, collage and mixed media on paper 
11" x 8 1/2"

Lynda Barry, Intro Page 2, Volume 1 of Everything
Lynda Barry, Who's There?  2000
Ink on Paper, 11" x 8 1/2"


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