Artist: Barnaby Furnas
Artwork: Rock Concert (The Rolling Stones)
Size: 152.3 x 213.5 cm
Medium: Acrylic with water dispersed pigments and pencil on linen
Creation year: 2013
Marks: Signed on the overlap; signed titled dated March 2013 and inscribed The Rolling Stones NYC on the reverse and inscribed RS on the stretcher
Provenance: Anthony Meier Fine Arts San Francisco; Acquired directly from the previous by the present owner;; ;; Any examination of Barnaby Furnas' oeuvre will reveal that his paintings are not limited to simply one message but that there is always either a dark underbelly or a silver lining to add complexity to the concept some grit in the oyster. This is particularly the case with the present work. Entitled Rock Concert (The Rolling Stones) this could be seen as an orgiastic paean to the great Rock Gods of the 1960s but it is far more than that; the composition is shot through with beams of spotlights in the same way as his Civil War paintings are rent with bullet lines and drenched in crimson leading to a dizzying impact on the viewer. This is muscular epic painting in the grand American tradition emulating the greats of fiction such as Philip Roth or John Steinbeck rooted both in the grand narratives of history and their fraught underbelly.; ; Furnas' paintings are always suffused with energy intensity vitality; his work is a visceral response to American folklore whether he is deconstructing images of the Civil War immortalising stadium rock concerts or getting his hands dirty with the business of life red in tooth and claw. Indeed the explosion of red pigment positions the present work right at the heart of the artist's signature practice in which the colour dominates the composition and is pregnant with red's most fertile associations: blood violence rage and eroticism. The painting as such is not an homage to the Rolling Stones as we have come to know them whose position in the annals of rock and roll history now well into the seventh decade of their career is beyond question. Rather the work channels a particular time when rock and roll was still dangerous and the Stones live were as Lester Bangs famously wrote at the time "a supernatural visitation a cataclysmic experience of Wagnerian power that transcended music". Moreover the painting is purported to be inspired by the infamous concert at the Altamont Speedway outside San Francisco in 1969. Intended as a "Woodstock West" over 300000 gathered for a free concert including the likes of Jefferson Airplane Tina Turner Crosby Stills Nash & Young and Santana all icons of counter-culture. The Stones headlined and by the end of the evening the summer of love had turned sour following the murder of a fan named Meredith Palmer by a member of the Hells Angels after Palmer rushed the stage and three further accidental deaths.