We would like to introduce Joel Barr - an Atlanta artist who has been showing at the gallery almost from its inception. He's participated in our group shows with themes from abstract art to food-related works. We are proud that his solo show for us, LIFE LINES and OTHER STORIES included an 11-piece original, sequential, and narrative work painted just for the exhibition. In addition to the shows here, he also presented an evening gallery talk on "The Artful Life." We've asked him to speak briefly about that life and about his current work.
"I've been an oil painter for over 25 years and am still happily exploring what oils can do. I love their history and the connection they provide to artists across time. I sculpt as well and always finish those works with oil painting.
I know that I am one of the lucky ones and an incredibly grateful for that. Most every day, I get to go to my studio and disappear into its world full of art and stories. For me, those things are inseparable.
Each day, I look for a shape, a color, or a quick peek at something new. That creative spark may come from something outside me - the play of sunshine on water maybe or the weaving of notes in a ballad that is new to me. It might also be generated from inside - a memory of Florida shies in winter or the look on my dog's face when he first realizes that a treat is at hand. That smell hint of insight or mystery is what I will build on in my art.
In the end, what I want to do is to share that bit of news I've somehow discovered. I hope my art - paintings or sculpture - will be a prod for viewers to broaden the story. What happened before this scene? What happens afterwards? When all is working right, that story will change and be enriched each time the viewer sees the work.
Right now, I'm excited about the interplay of the written and visual arts. I come to painting with a writing background and find that I'm returning, after over two decades, to writing as part of my daily creative life. Words have been finding their way into my paintings, sometimes directly and sometimes with more subtlety.
At the heart of all my work is a story. For me, everyone and everything carries a story and, along with those who see my art, I am forever curious to hear that story, to fill in the parts I cannot know, and to share this experience in what I create."