"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 in Winter Harbor is a virtual archive of Downeast Maine history as seen through his eyes and experiences. 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"The narratives I paint are historical documents of characters of Maine, the last of the independent-spirited people...those are who I like to seek out, try to be with, relate to...I'm one of them."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.
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In the following videos, Phil talks about some of the people and places that inspired his work over his lifetime.
"The Rusty Anchor"
"Men at Work:Ironbound"
"Millett's General Store, Milbridge, Maine"
West Brothers Lobster Company