There is certainly nothing contrived about Matt Barter's work: he recreates his life experiences with a paintbrush paying homage to" the daily struggles of the men and women that make a living on the boats, piers, and harbors of Maine."
Philip and Matt Barter are father and son painters who work in heavily stylized manners largely echoing Marsden Hartley in subject and appearance: thick outlines, bold colors, landscapes and seaside scenes...
Matt’s stylized codes are well developed: Lobster traps are flat, linear grids; lobster boats are always seen in profile with the complete curve of the hull; fish are always like Hartley’s mackerels. This makes his work legible and easily recognizable. And by not fumbling for newly observed forms, Matt’s brush work feels strong and confident.
His “Taking up Gear” depicts two lobstermen pulling traps onto a dock. The traps, boat, shack and figures are in Matt’s stock and stylized language, allowing him to concentrate on a very strong composition with a clear and easy motion. (The pier is a simple line that flows in from the left and down to a trap on the boat; your eye then rides up the bow curve and back to the start.)
Excerpted from Daniel Kany's review in Maine Sunday Telegram, June, 2011.
Matt and his father held their first father-son exhibition at Littlefield Gallery in 2010.
Click each image for a larger view.