artist statement, bio, cv
All of my great photos are by BENVENUTO SABA
I am a California artist, though I have been in Pietrasanta, Italy for 30 years. The longer I’m away, the more it is clear that I have a California aesthetic and mentality.
Working in Pietrasanta has been a joy. It is exactly the right place for a stone sculptor. There is marble, an endless supply of choice. Tools and skilled artisans, industry at an artist’s command. A community of artists, helpful, creative, and knowledgable.
Over the years I’ve worked monumental and miniscule. I’ve traveled to sculpture symposiums in China, Germany, Israel, Holland and Sweden. Commissions in California, Virginia, Chicago, London and Italy.
I feel in the my prime of my life creatively and productively. Sometimes I stop in the middle of my work and laugh. It is so good, the creative life, the marble, Italy, my family and friends. Thank you to everyone.
His work is seriously crafted, yet he endeavors to remain playful and colorful. His rigorous work is challenging in that it requires the viewer to stand in a sort of frozen moment, almost a gesture between playfulness and seriousness, a state between the conscious and the self- conscious. This idiosyncratic work is not naïve. It is not like true folk art, where a piece can be a wonderful utterance, but it cannot be language, as it is outside of the language of art. Neal’s in- formed work is solidly based in his experienced time and place of maturation. Bringing Southern California into the context of Italy has served Neal well, but it requires a wider context to under- stand his body of work fully.
John Greer, PERSONAGGI, Catalogue Essay, Kunstfabrik Grosß-Siegharts, Austria, 2018.
Twist and Shout, two columns in contrasting colours of pink and spotted white marble, reflect Barab's love of the properties of stone, colour, simplification of form, and a sense of humour.
Brenda Moore-McCann, Chianti Sculpture Park Catalogue Essay, 2003
The elements which characterise Neal Barab’s inquiries are clear: nature, material, and play. Running through all of them is a dynamic thread, since nature and the material (Marble, Granite, Stone) are ultimately the same thing. In the element of play, Neal introduces his concept of the “spontaneity of creation” (which often implies interactivity). There is a naturalness in artistic creation and in the enjoyment of art which contrasts with the difficulty of conceptual and
Elisa Giannini, Rd'A Revista d'Arte