Page 68 - The Hunt - Fall 2019
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                                                        THE FICTIONAL REALIST
continued from page 47
to get that out of you,’” recalls Barr. Andrew Wyeth was indeed one of his inspirations. But during the 1970s, Wyeth had become a pariah in the academic art community. “They beat the plein air out of me,” Barr says.
Well-known American realist John Moore was Barr’s teacher during his final semester, and
the two did not share the same aesthetic eye. “Moore saw that I was frustrated, and he said, ‘You have to see Rackstraw Downes,’” says Barr.
The English super-realist painter and author was more in Barr’s league, and he emerged from college with the 19th-century Luminist and Barbizon labels. Both descriptions are OK with him, as he loves detail and luminosity.
“It’s the Dutch in me,” he says, noting that a board better allows him to add layers of glaze to create a glow.
For 11 years, Barr “designed sprinklers,” struggling to balance his painting with a day job as a mechanical engineer. By the late ’80s, “realism was coming back, and I decided to become a full-time painter,” he says.
After three years of work, Barr assembled
40 paintings for a show at the now-defunct Golden Door Gallery in New Hope, Pa. “The show was pretty successful,” he says.
By the turn of the century, he was showing at Newman Galleries in Saint Peters, Pa., before the bottom briefly fell out of the art market after 9/11. “That was the only year I didn’t make any money,” he says.
Barr has been at Somerville Manning Gallery in Greenville, Del., since 2004, assembling a one-man exhibit there every two years. The next one is coming in September 2020. At last year’s Somerville Manning show, most of Barr’s paintings sold for well into five figures. “Tim is very professional,” says gallery owner Vickie Manning. “He takes what he does very seriously and works very hard at it.”
“During the first week of college, they told me, ‘We can see the Wyeth in your work, and we want to get that out of you.’ They beat the
plein air out of me.”
It’s been three months since my pre- Nantucket visit to Barr’s studio, and we’re now chatting over coffee at Centreville Cafe in Delaware. He’s in town to deliver the pumpkin painting I’d seen hanging unfinished over his computer. He’s also planning to shoot some scenic photography and pay a visit to Somerville Manning.
Barr reaches across the table and begins working on a blank page in my note pad, trying to illustrate how three paintings might come from a single idea. He sketches out a
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 66 THE HUNT MAGAZINE
fall 2019
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