“Living Room” by Philip Barter
Littlefield Gallery in Winter Harbor invites the public to view a 30 year survey of Sullivan artist Philip Barter opening August 7 with an Artists’ Reception 5 – 7 p.m. Sat. Aug. 17. The show runs through Sept. 2 and also features the sculpture of Ray Carbone of Steuben.
“Historical” might not be the first word that comes to mind when describing one of Philip Barter’s paintings, yet his private collection of narratives at Littlefield Gallery is a virtual archive of Downeast Maine history as seen through his eyes. As opposed to his landscapes that rarely include people, his narratives are filled with family members, friends in their working environments, buildings and businesses that have long since closed or burned down. The common denominator among all of these paintings is the work ethic and self-sufficiency of Maine people. Unlike a lot of artists who come to Maine to capture the elements of Maine’s natural beauty, Phil authentically captures the nature of Maine people; he is expressing what it is like to be “of Maine.”
“The narratives I paint are historical documents of characters of Maine, the last of the independent-spirited people…those are who I like to seek out, try to be with, relate to…I’m one of them.”
Just as Philip Barter’s narratives reflect traditions and values uniquely thought of as Maine-tenacity, humility, and resourcefulness- the blueberry barrens in his landscapes have become a metaphor for their tough and hardy resiliency to withstand the extreme Maine climate in poor conditions and still survive.
The last time a retrospective of Phil’s work was done was at Bates College in 1992. The Littlefield Gallery show is a thirty-year survey of his work Downeast. Twenty-five paintings were selected from Phil’s private collection originally deemed “never-to-be-sold,” ”never-exhibited,” and “personal favorites of family and friends.” Barter was eventually convinced that these pieces needed to be shared and made available for others to enjoy in their own homes.
Ray Carbone’s artist statement states “Skills learned during twenty-five years of wood and stone working converge in my sculpture. The tidal zone and its rhythm is my door-yard. My work continues to evolve and be influenced by my sense of place and the rich natural environment surrounding me.” The show is available online at littlefieldgallery.com