Artist Robert Barnes (American, b. 1934)
Title The Mackerel Run - Belfast Harbor
Series The Penobscot
Medium Casein on paper
Dimensions Image: 18 × 20 1/4 in. (45.7 × 51.4 cm)
Sheet: 22 5/16 × 30 in. (56.7 × 76.2 cm)
Framed: 28 3/16 × 30 3/16 × 13/16 in. (71.6 × 76.7 × 2.1 cm)
Credit Line Museum purchase with Funds from the Elisabeth P. Myers Art Acquisition Endowment Fund, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 2002.27
About this Work
Robert Barnes taught in IU’s fine arts department for thirty-five years before retiring in 1999. Although residing primarily in Bloomington, Indiana; Umbria, Italy; and Searsport, Maine, he is loosely associated with the Chicago Imagists because of his training at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his figurative subjects, and representation by major Chicago art dealers. Nonetheless, this piece depicts a New England theme.
Recalling the Japonisme aesthetic of Vincent van Gogh, Barnes transforms a beloved fishing tradition of summer in southern Maine into a festival of sparkling lights: reflected off the waves, in the stars in the sky, from the lanterns on the bridge that are mirrored in the dark water, and through the windows of the passing boat. The image also recalls the cycle of life--when the mackerel come in, they are devoured by seals, which, in turn, are eaten by sharks.