James Xavier Barbour is an American fine art painter and sculptor whose primary vehicle for expressing contemporary narrative or metaphor is the human figure. He works in his studio/atelier based in New York, NY.
His talent for art developed at an early age, as well as his passion for human anatomy. His early years were self taught and more instinctual. He studied fine arts in the classical realist atelier tradition while living in Italy, completed his undergraduate study at The Hartford Art School, and studied at The Art Students League. He attended and completed his graduate school training for his (MFA) Masters of Fine Arts degree at The New York Academy of Art. He has been fortunate to have studied with many of the world's most respected artists like Steven Assael, Vincent Desiderio, Deane Keller, Martha Mayer Erlebacher, Stephen Brown and many others. He is endlessly curious, and has spent hundreds of hours studying the works of the old masters, and observing human anatomy from real dissected cadavers in order to better specialize in both artistic and forensic human anatomy.
He is completely passionate about expressing the eternal or universal truths that bind us as human beings as well our differences. His work often contains a psychological or symbolic narrative which dances on the edges of both reality and the surreal. He fearlessly captures those moments of life which appear an illusion or dream, but still remain completely anchored in possibilty or reality.
Themes can range from the chaotic "dark circus" of life around us and exploring the soul of human nature, to the affects of technology and industrial/ mechanical growth as we attempt to adjust and evolve. The human figure can express these contemplations and is used to better connect with what he feels are the most honest moments of living life. It is his firm belief that working from both observation is a necessary component of a successful work of art and prefers to work strictly from life, model, and/or imagination. He is ceaselessly meticulous about every subtle detail of his work from concept to dynamic finish.
His art has won numerous awards, grants, and has been featured in various publications, articles, and in films. They can be found in numerous private, and public collections around the world and on exhibition in various art museums and galleries across the United States and internationally. Recent exhibitions have been in New York, California, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, London, and Japan.
He is also founder and director of the Decorus Atelier of Figurative Art located in New York City. An art school dedicated to classical art training in the style of the Old Masters of the past but with a strong focus on exploring contemporary narrative context, innovative techniques, and to better understanding figurative anatomy. He conducts regular art workshops and seminars and has taught for over 19 years as an instructor at Academy of Art University, Decorus Atelier of Figurative Art, School of Visual Arts, and at many other academic institutions.