Charlie Barr is a Northwest landscape artist working with a unique mixed media blend of acrylic and cement on panel.
These contemporary landscape paintings are meant to set a mood or evoke emotion and often leave the viewer with a sense of remembrance and stimulated senses.
In this year's exhibit, Barr will introduce a few works where figures become the subject matter adding a much softer and human perspective to his landscapes.
Artists are constantly searching for ways to differentiate their work. It's important to speak to an audience in an original manner to draw their attention.
Barr's work incorporates a unique blending of the traditional canvas and stretcher bar form factor with the use of cement veneer over wood. He is occasionally asked where he gets his inspiration.
"I'm inspired by my surroundings when I walk around Seattle, travel abroad and hikes through nature. The subject matter for landscapes comes from traveling and snapping photos while I'm hiking or trail running. I like to add a heightened sense of perspective by either photographing from a low angle or from a high vantage point. With my figurative paintings I take the same approach, attempting to create powerful perspective. The figures are typically in motion with significant directional lighting."
Whether landscape or figurative, Barr is drawn to more of an open layout. He likes to have his subject matter take no more than a third of the surface of the painting.
"I believe the negative or empty space of the painting isn't empty, but adds visual "weight" to the subject matter. I ensure that there are common elements that tie all of my paintings together in a consistent body of work.
With the landscape paintings my goal is to enhance the perspective and contrast of a setting in hopes of conveying the same feeling I get when outdoors in the moment.
With the figurative paintings I focus on people in action, whether they're playing instruments, riding bikes or walking down the street. The figures are meant to have a street art stencil look to tie in with the cement background."
For years Barr worked with oil on canvas. As his style evolved it became clear that fast drying acrylics were a better fit for his new paintings.
"Around the same time that I switched from oil to acrylic I had also switched from canvas to building my own boxes with a thin veneer of cement over the top and sides. The cement finish has an acrylic binding medium which gives it more strength and flexibility."
Barr says it's difficult to know which artists have helped influence his work.
"I admire Thomas Coles' dramatic nature scenes and Banksy's graffiti stencils. My goal is to create work with enhanced elements to give the viewer the same sense of wonder that they'd feel if they were there in the moment."