Rande Barke

  • The longer the viewer takes to concentrate and “study” any form of fine art the greater the possibly they have to enjoy it, or decide why they don’t. The average viewing time is fifteen seconds. I am challenging that notion to allow submission to the emotional experience.

    My work is an accomplished effort of juggling composition and improvisation. The construction of these two elements take shape in a semi-trance. After this absorption, three-quarters of the way through this process, the critical phase occurs when I must make the whole piece come together. Of course it’s not aprocess” in the corporate sense of the word – it is everything that has stayed with me from being a student with Elaine de Kooning to thirty years of working and exhibiting in NYC.

    I must use whatever facility comes to play during this circumspect analyses in an attempt to finish with a positive ending. This final personal satisfaction is achieved with a certain amount of luck along with my years of experience towards completion.

    My approach to the current work relies on critical analysis and a reservoir of acquired techniques and subject matter. The new element to my work shown here is collage. A palette of appropriated images from vintage periodicals and posters. I use the cut line of the X-acto blade much like a pencil or paintbrush. Choosing the collage pieces, placing them, shaping; gluing and burnishing. This process is very intuitive while simultaneously reflecting on the compositional direction allowing for changes. I paint over the cut pieces with a variety of techniques. The stipple dry brush application of paint is based on a technique I have used previously in my work to suggest the painterly approach.

    The titles are conceptually cryptic leaving the final response and analysis up to the viewer. “Competition for the largest” and Butterfly are examples of my earlier stylistic approach. They are graphic, with high contrast. Christian Harley Riders in favor of Gay and Lesbian Marriage might be transitional – busy but composed.

    What I am striving for in Surf City is the Place to be is a combination of seamless blending of the figurative and abstract. Rolanda and the Kitchen Sink in Hawaii is dedicated to a good friend who immigrated to Hawaii. It expresses a more painterly tone with a sense of color, bright light and the thrill of being in a new place. Butterfly is an expression of life on over load with a geometric abstraction, and kinetic movement. Delicate creatures that can travel hundreds of miles every year to be where they need to be, and return every year to another place called home.


  • Rande Barke remembers the sweet acrid smell of beer “factorieswhen riding in his father's truck toward downtown Milwaukee in the 1960’s. A prosaic industry set in a humble and sturdy landscape next to lake Michigan. 

    Barke, who spent the last 20 years in New York City, exhibiting his art, is now back in Milwaukee. The culture and urbanity of “The City” provided a context that fostered five single person shows and several reviews in Art Forum and Art in America, as well as awards including The National Endowment for the Arts Scholarship and the New York Foundations for the Arts Fellowship in drawing.

    Before working full time as an artist in New York, Rande taught art for 6 years.  First at the University of Southern Mississippi, then as an assistant professor in the Art department of Syracuse University.  His formal education was at the University of Georgia with an MFA in drawing and painting.  There, he worked for two years with Elaine de Kooning who enabled him to meet such masters of 1950’s American abstraction as Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston.  Willem de Kooning reminded Rande of his German speaking grandfather, Sam Barke, who left Europe to start a cedar post business in Gillett, Wisconsin in the 1930’s.

    Rande left New York City in 2002, changed forever, after watching the Trade Center towers burn from his Greenpoint Brooklyn studio. He and wife moved to Westchester County setting up a studio in downtown Yonkers, 2 blocks from the Hudson River and the Palisades.  The river and surrounding imagery was reflected in his abstract paintings and semi representational drawings.

    The great recession would take Rande and his wife to the midwest. Rande now lives and works in Milwaukee - the city he left at age 16.

    1978   University of Georgia, Master of Fine Art

    2016               Wantoot Gallery, Mineral Point, WI
    2013               Parsifal Mercedes Boutique, Milwaukee, WI
    2011               Zuppas - A Fine Art Restaurant, Yonkers, NY
    2010               Comfort, Hastings on Hudson, Rande Barke Drawings
                           2006-2009, Yonkers, NY
    2008               Schiavone Edward Fine Art, Baltimore, MD
    2003               Schiavone Edward Fine Art, Baltimore, MD
    1997               Anderson & Anderson Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
    1995               E M Donahue Gallery, New York, NY
    1992               E M Donahue Gallery, New York, NY
    1991               Anderson & Anderson Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
    1990               E M Donahue Gallery, New York, NY
    1989               E M Donahue Gallery, New York, NY
    1987               Gabrielle Bryers Gallery, New York, NY
    1986               Gabrielle Bryers Gallery, New York, NY
    1983               Hewlett Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
    1981               Gallery Simone Stern, New Orleans, LA
    1979               Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville, SC
    1979               Max Hutchinson Gallery, Houston, TX
    1979               Beggin Hall Gallery, Auburn University, AL

    2016               Gallery 218, "Spring Gallery Night & Day" Milwaukee, WI
    2014               Gallery 218, "Spring Gallery Night," Milwaukee, WI
    2013               Anderson Arts Center, "Winter Juried Exhibition,"
                           Kenosha, WI
    2012               Gingrass Gallery, "Gallery Artists," Milwaukee, WI
    2005               Yonkers on Hudson Gallery,  Yonkers, NY
    2002               Scratch ARENA, New York, NY
    2002               A Special Place, ARENA, Brooklyn, NY
    2001               Stockholm Art Fair, Stockholm, Sweden
    2000               Months and Moons, ACA Galleries, New York, NY
    2000               Cotter Lupi / Rande Barke, ARENA @ Feed, Brooklyn, NY
    1999               Size Matters, Gale Gates, Brooklyn, NY
    1997               New York Drawers, Pierogi 2000: touring the Gasworks,
                           London, and Cornerhouse, Manchester U.K.
    1997               Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of
                           North Carolina, Greensboro, NC
    1997- 98        Current/Undercurrent, Brooklyn Museum of Art,
                           Brooklyn, NY
    1996               New York Biennial, New York State Museum, NY
    1994               Current Abstraction, Tyler Gallery, Tyler School of Art,
                           Philadelphia, PA (3 person show)
    1994               Interior Essence, Akus Gallery, Eastern Conn.
                           State University, Willimantic, CT
    1993               Gallery Artists, EM Donahue Gallery, New York, NY
                           (also ’92, ‘91)
    1989               Abstract Landscape, Art in General, New York, NY
    1986               Art Basel, Switzerland
    1985               Paintings & Sculpture, Art Awards Candidates,
                           American Academy & Institute for Arts & Letters, NY
    1985               Exit Art Gallery, New York, NY
    1984               PPOW Gallery, New York, NY
    1984               On View, The New Museum of Contemporary Art,
                           New York, NY
    1982               The Collection of Elaine de Kooning,
                           Elaine Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY
    1980               Annual Juried Exhibition, Nelson-Atkins Museum,
                           Kansas City, MO
    1980               Rande Barke, Cynthia Becker, Goldwin Smith Gallery,
                           Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
    1979               Gramercy International Art Fair, New York, NY

    2005 06       Article in Westchester Magazine
    2004 04       Baltimore City Paper, “Effortless” J Bowers
    1994 11       The Philadelphia Enquirer, “Current Abstraction”
                        Edward J Sozanski
    1994 04       Figaro (Japan), “Young Artists in New York”
    1989 05       Art Forum, review by Jude Schwedenwien
    1997 04       Art in America, review by Stephen Westfall
    1986 11       Art Forum, review by Ronnie Cohe

    2001             New York Foundation for the Arts
                         Fellowship:Printmaking/Drawing/Artists’ Book
    1983             National Endowment for the Arts Scholarship
    1978             Ford Foundation Grant

    Dow Lohnes & Albertson, Washington DC          
    Adam Baumgold, New York NY
    Fidelity Investments, Boston MA                          
    Richard Elstract, New York NY
    Lisa Dennison, New York NY                                
    Pat Baron-Ravitch, New York NY
    Sumitomo Bank, New York NY                              
    Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas MO
    Chemical Bank, New York NY                              
    Primary Care Assoc., New York NY
    Deutsche Bank, New York NY    
    Salmon Peak Recording Studios, SanAntonio TX 
    “Elaine de Kooning’s Inadvertent Collection”, The Estate of Elaine de Kooning, NY, NY

Ambitious Projects Included
Ambitious Projects Included $1,800.00
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Americans in Paris American Style
Americans in Paris American Style $1,500.00
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Blood Thirsty Somalia Pirates are rarely blood thirsty
Blood Thirsty Somalia Pirates are Rarely Blood Thirsty $1,850.00
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Butterfly $1,600.00
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Christian Harley Riders in  Favor of Gay and Lesbian marriage
Christian Harley Riders in Favor of Gay and Lesbian Marriage $1,800.00
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Five Celebrity
Five Celebrity $2,200.00
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Great Lakes Light Houses
Great Lakes Light Houses $1,850.00
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Low Ride (P.U.)
Low Ride (P.U.) $850.00
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Metropolitan $2,200.00
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Monster Tank vs Captain Cook
Monster Tank vs Captain Cook $1,950.00
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Poison Fish Market
Poison Fish Market $1,800.00
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Rolanda and the kitchen sink in Hawaii
Rolanda and the Kitchen Sink in Hawaii $1,900.00
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Surf City is the place to Be
Surf City is the Place to be $1,800.00
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WE LIKE IKE $850.00
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What if Germany won The War? (Occupied New York 1947)
What if Germany won The War? (Occupied New York 1947) $1,500.00
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