A Painter of Screaming, Mourning Figures continues the musical rendering of my inspiration from Francis Bacon.

Like many of Bacon's paintings, the work forms a triptych with each segment being a screaming section or a mourning section, or in instances like the first third, both. The piece draws influences from Bacon's painting Triptych, May-June, 1973 as its outline for both form and dramatic shape. Bacon's lover, George Dryer is shown in the all three panels, naked on the toilet, moments before his death. The first panel shows Dryer crouched with his head between his knees as if in pain. The second shows in his most upright position, with what appears to be a bat-like figure above him producing a large menacing shadow. The final panel shows Dryer in a crouched position again, this time vomiting into a sink. The idea of the crouching figure and the figure in pain is seen throughout Bacon's work. Because his own views on humanity are brutal and irrational, he does not let the figure have his head up.

Francis Bacon, Triptych, May-June, 1973

Francis Bacon, Triptych, May-June, 1973


Justin Barish (b. 1990) is a composer of contemporary art music whose work is characterized by its complex layers, violent textures and extreme physical and emotional sound worlds. He is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory with academic honors, studying with Dalit Warshaw, Marti Epstein and Andy Vores as well as participating in masterclasses with Simon Bainbridge and Samuel Adler.

Barish is the 2012 recipient of the Roger Sessions Memorial Award for Composition. His music has been performed by artists such as The Ludovico New Music Ensemble, The Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble, Eric Hewitt, Marti Epstein, Bethanne Walker, Jeffrey Means and Kent O'Doherty. Recent commissions include The Transient Canvas Duo, Joint Venture Percussion Duo, and Kent O'Doherty and Aliana de la Guardia. A passionate advocate for the performance of new and contemporary music, he has performed as a percussionist in the 2010 Boston Conservatory New Music Festival and has conducted performances ranging from Haydn to over a dozen world premieres. Barish was the winner of the 2011 Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble Composition Competition, which resulted in the premiere of his commissioned work "Machine Music" (to be recorded on Albany records).