Don't know if the setup you describe will work or not. The key phrase here is "keyboard emulation". As long as your reader inputs the scanned barcode into the computer system just as though you typed the text into your computer, it will work. Almost all barcode scanners and magnetic strip readers work in this fashion. If said scanner can append an extra character onto the end of the scanned barcode (called a "postamble"), you can set this up so that a tab, enter, or return character is added to the end of your scan and you can use this character in an FMP 10 database to trigger the OnObjectExit script trigger to start up a script to respond to your scanned data such as by performing a find for your artwork.
To test out your set up, try just scanning a barcode while your cursor is in a text field and see what shows up in the field. With keyboard emulation, you should see a line of characters appear in the field.