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 Barry Masteller  (1945 - )

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: atmospheric landscape

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Ad Code: 4
Barry Masteller
from Auction House Records.
Natural Occurrence #64, 1991/1994/1995
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, at the request of the artist, is from his website:

Born April 21, 1945 Echo Park District, Los Angeles, California

ESSAY by Kristin Dickson

''It is in the sound of the silence where I find the landscape. It is often virgin and untouched. A landscape that almost doesn't exist anymore''
- Barry Masteller

However guided and focused we are in our contemporaneity, we cannot disregard the formative impact of childhood experiences, namely the imprint of memory. Memory navigates us, but more specifically, memory preserves those sacred, abstract spaces of our personal histories. With a poetic nostalgia, Barry Masteller recounts his childhood growing up in Los Angeles. Through his explorations of local train yards and bridge systems and even summer visits to his grandparents' home in the midwest. Masteller recalls the impressionable imagery that certain moments afforded. Traveling by train, he was deeply affected by the broad, extending landscape in all of its visual transformations from mountains to plains, in daylight through nightfall.

Now, after a substantial passage of years Masteller is creating his own markers of time that seem to harp back to those earlier childhood landscapes surveyed from his train rides. Both his Earth and Sky series and his Time and Place series constitute a space, a light and a process of extreme specificity that Masteller renders with a consistency in style and technique.

As an ongoing series, his paintings suggest both an invented and experienced space - a space imagined by man but importantly, uninhabited by man. Despite the very personal references that the series may hold for the artist himself, these seemingly anonymous clearings and broad hillsides appear as the paradigm of an idealized countryside, nature's utopia or even a more rustic Elysian fields. I n their meditative calm, these scenes portray a residue of silence. The hushed airs seem like the sudden resulting moments following the exit of a sharpened sound. What remains are merely the land and the decline of day that the artist represents with the illuminating powers of light.

Light functions as a pervasive presence in Masteller's landscapes. It hovers as an ethereal halo around the perimeters of trees and bridge beams and rests on open plains of still water. It intensifies the darkened silhouettes of its host forms in imperceptible gradations between light and dark. The resulting contrast is principal rather than accessory. Like the atmospheric perspective of William Turner and the chiaroscuro of Rembrandt.

By achieving such precision and exactitude with light. Masteller conveys a unique element of time. Earth and Sky 276 and Time and Place 54 both illustrate light's final departure, with Masteller's signature crimsons, auburns, ochres and browns converging along the horizons where the sun is falling. Masteller's skies carry the weight of night as another day's cycle is nearing a close. Here, light embodies a primary component in life's processes of renewal, growth, begining and end.

Unfolding beyond the mere associations to memory and the forces of nature. Masteller's landscapes also exalt the role of paint. The raw material remains as an intimate and vital force within his work. Each painting's resonance lies in Masteller's communication with his medium. He handles and manipulates the paint with much discernment. perceiving many of his finished pieces as interludes. Painting is a constant for him, a necessary sustenance. Usually working on three or four canvases at one time, Masteller creates his work mostly at night under controlled lighting.

His approach reflects the evolution that his own paintings reference. To him ''a painting is never finished'' and accordingly, he often revisits his paintings in additive and subtractive measure. Building up thin layers of color over color, his process also encompasses wiping, glazing, scraping, scumbling and scratching. Each effect gives evidence of a changing vision. With every new painting he allows the blank canvas to initiate his beginnings and rarely relies on preliminary drawings and studies. Instead, each painting adopts an instinctual quality, and in fact, could reasonably liken to a dance. Citing tempo and rhythm as married components of his painting process, Masteller remarks simply that ''mostly I am lost in the experience and the paint.''

Lyrical, beautiful, alluring and still, Masteller's paintings are idyllic landscapes of ''the mind and memory.'' However, by actively referencing the stylistic and conceptual tendencies of art history's celebrated figures (Rembrandt, Turner, Monet, Matisse, Magritte, Ernst and Tanguey are preserved as his lifelong teachers), Masteller is able to integrate scholarship with his personal experience. He successfully captures a grace and a clarity that visually align his viewers with a subtle luminescence. Beckoning from bridges, on his pathways and under his forest canopies. Masteller connects memory to moment. He definitively supports that ''all painting is abstraction and that all abstraction is fundamentally landscape''

San Jose Museum of Art
Bank of the West
Saratoga Capital
Alicante Hotel
Payden and Rygel
Stoffer Hotel
Weight Loss Clinics
Gonzaga University, WA
Monterey Museum of Art
First Capital Corp
Garrison Capital
J.W. Robinson Co.
Coldwell Banker Corp
Home Federal
Pebble Beach Co.
Prudential Insurance
Syntex Corp
Bank of America,SF
Price Waterhouse,NYC
Sapporo Royal Hotel, Japan
C&H Sugar
Club Corp.
Bachalter, Neimer, Fields & Younger.
Lifescan / Johnson & Johnson
Hyatt Regency, Chicago
Tanimura & Antle
Crowne Plaza Hotel, NYC
Cypress Inn, Carmel
Santa Cruz Museum of Art
Duke Energy
Siemans AG, Beijing
Veritas Software

2001 Caldwell/Snyder Gallery, New York, NY
2001 Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Kirkland, WA
2000 Caldwell/Snyder Gallery, San Francisco,CA
1999 Nelson/Rovzar Gallery, Kirkland,WA
1998 Robert Aichele Gallery, Menlo Park, CA
1997 Tamara Bane Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA
1997 Emmie Smock Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1996 Lisa Parker Gallery, New York, NY
1995 Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA
1994 Shaklee Corp Gallery, San Francisco,CA
1993 Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, CA
1993 Bank of America World Headquarters Gallery,
San Francisco, CA
1990 Claypoole-Freese Gallery, Pacific Grove, CA
1989 Pacific Grove Art Center, Pacific Grove, CA
1989 Shaklee Corp Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1986 PDA Gallery, Carmel, CA
1985 Site 311 Gallery, Pacific Grove, CA
1984 Ankrum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1984 Maple Gallery, San Diego, CA
1983 Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA
1983 Pacific Grove Art Center, Pacific Grove, CA
1982 San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
1981 Maple Gallery, San Diego, CA
1981 Rubicon Gallery, Los Altos, CA
1981 Collectors Gallery, Pacific Grove, CA
1979 Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, CA
1977 Pacific Grove Art Center, Pacific Grove, CA
1975 Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA
1968 Jabberwock Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1967 La Cienega Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1967 Playhouse Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1999 Air Born, Monterey Airport Terminal
1999 Woodward Gallery, NYC
1998 Nelson/Rovzar Gallery, Kirkland, WA
1998 Santa Cruz Museum of Art.
1998 Carl Cherry Center for the Arts,Carmel, CA
1998 Towards the Millinnum,Monterey Museum of Art at
1997 Tamara Bane Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA
1997 Emmie Smock Gallery, SanFrancisco, CA
1996 Lisa Parker Fine Art, NYC
1993 Claypoole/Freese Gallery, Pacific Grove, CA
1991 Juried Biennial, Phillip Linhares, Oakland Museum
at Monterey Museum of Art.
1991 Vorpal Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1990 Claypoole/Freese Gallery,Pacific Grove,CA
1988 Katherina Rich Perlow Gallery,NYC
1988 Exemplary Contemporary, Richard Koshalek,UC Santa Cruz
1988 Newport Harbor Art Museum,CA
1987 J.J. Brookings Gallery,CA
1986 Vorpal Gallery,San Francisco,CA
1985 Monterey Museum of Art, CA
1985 Irvine Fine Arts Center, CA
1985 Ankrum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1984 San Francisco Arts Commission
1984 Monterey Museum of Art. Oh Well, Orwell Invitational
1984 Maple Gallery, San Diego, CA
1983 Monterey Museum of Art
1982 Pacific Grove Art Center
1981 Pacific Grove Art Center
1981 Taylor Gallery, Taos,NM
1979 Juried Annual, Paul Mills,
Monterey Museum of Art
1978 Will Stone Collection, SanFrancisco,CA
1977 Monterey Conference Center
1976 Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
1976 Juried Annual, Alexander Napote. First Award
Monterey Fair Grounds Contempoary Gallery
1975 Juried Annual, Harry X. Ford, Best of Show,
Monterey Museum of Art.
1974 Monterey Museum of Art.
1973 Lincoln Gallery, Carmel
1972 Pacific Grove Art Center.
1971 Pacific Grove Art Center.
1967 McKenzie Gallery, Los Angeles,CA
1967 Third Eye Gallery, Encino,CA
1964 Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles,CA

Exhibition Catalog, 'Oh well Orwell', Monterey Museum of Art, Rick Deragon 1984
The California Art Review, American References, Les Crantz 1989
Who's Who in American Art, R.R Bowker 1993-1994
Who's Who in American Art, R.R. Bowker 1995-1996
New American Paintings, Volume 1 Number IV, Open Studios Press, 1996
Who's Who in American Art, R.R. Bowker 1997-1998
Who's Who in American Art, Marquis 1999-2000
Exhibition Catalog, Newport Harbor Art Museum, 1988
Exhibition Catalog, 'Night of the Mask', Newport Harbor Art Museum 1994
Exhibition Catalog, Lisa Parker Fine Art, New York 1996
Exhibition Catalog, Caldwell / Snyder Gallery, Kristin Dickson, San Francisco 2000
Exhibition Catalog, Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Kirkland, WA 2001
Exhibition Catalog, Caldwell / Snyder Gallery, New York 2001

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