(Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, 1947, Venezuelan-American).
Rafael Barrios’ is recognized as one of the most important Venezuelan artists. His work is mainly sculptural, although he also works creating sculptural furniture, assemblages, and monumental installations in public spaces. Barrios’ body of work stems from the idea of triggering visual and participative experiences in the spectator. He achieves this by shifting perspectives and altering perception through volume, light and drawing on the tradition of the trompe l’oeil effect. He plays with slanted geometric shapes while altering the laws of gravity, geometry, and volumes in space, and questions the primal believing is seeing motto. Barrios’ body of work is a serious statement about optics and perception. His formal concerns in optics and gravity have been the grounds for his long career. Barrios’ work also includes the creation of large-scale sculptures destined for public spaces and working intrinsically with architecture.
Rafael Barrios began his passion and career in art at a young age, by taking drawing classes at the Museo de Bellas Artes, in Caracas, where he was raised. He completed his college years majoring in arts at Ashbury College in Ottawa, Canada and was granted a J.W. Thompson grant to study Pure Art, Communication and Design at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, as well as a graduate degree in Fine Arts and Monumental Techniques at New York University. During his 40-year career, Barrios has shown his work in more than a hundred exhibitions, including solo and collective shows worldwide. In 2012 he was selected to showcase a solo exhibition of his monumental work in Park Avenue, New York. He has been honored with several national and international awards and recognitions, such as Sculpture Prize at The McLean Foundation Scholarship and the Honor of the Honorable Deputy of Palos de La Frontera in Huelva, Spain, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Discovery of the Americas, among others. His works are found in important public and private collections such as the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, and the Museo de Escultura al Aire Libre de Alcalá de Henarés in Spain, the Gustavo and Patricia Cisneros Collection, and the personal collection of King Juan Carlos of Spain to name a few. He currently lives and works between Miami, Paris, and Caracas.