Conveniently located to serve San Francisco, Walnut Creek, and the Bay Area, SF
Doctor Barnett is a figurative artist, both in the operating room and in the studio! His paintings and sculpture cover many subject matter, but tend to emphasize the human figure. Self taught, he began painting as a child. While at Yale, and again at Johns Hopkins, he produced art on a commission basis. While in medical school, he lived in the Bolton Hill area of Baltimore, in the shadow of the Maryland Institute of Art. He befriended many art students and taught human anatomy for drawing and sculpture.
When asked why so many of his figures are faceless, he answered, “We are naturally drawn to the face. Creating faceless figures, the other aspects of the painting draw our attention. We look to posture, to position, to attitude, to determine the meaning of the figure. Painting and sculpture allow me to distort my subject to create that meaning, something I cannot do in the operating room. It’s liberating.” Over the years, his figurative work has become less abstract.
He paints primarily from photographs because of time constraints. For sculpture, because of the 3D nature of the medium, he prefers live models. Because he has no formal training, he has always looked to other artists for inspiration and education. Frequently deriving his own work from the works of others, he feels a connection with the art community at large.
“Fine art and plastic surgery share many similarities, and some marked differences. Both require an aesthetic sense of mass and balance. A sense of the whole. Surgery is more demanding and unforgiving. It must be right. In art, I follow my own eye. In surgery, I follow the desires of my patient. Both have a zen quality – they expand to take all your focus. Everything else disappears.”
“The creation of art is an essential part of my life. I’ve been very fortunate to spend every day producing things of beauty, both inside and outside of the operating room. Someday, I’ll leave the operating room behind me, but I’ll never stop creating art.”
“Surround yourself with things of beauty – they will make you smile.”