The Galactic Art of Theodor Barr

The Israeli painter and writer Theodor Barr was born in 1957 in Romania. Since childhood he was fascinated by the far galaxies and his imagination wandered among the starts. He dealt with many unsolved questions: What is life? How did it all start? What is the relation between light and darkness? Between life and death?

The sky always amazed him, and he asked himself: What exactly is a star? How does it form? What are the brightest stars in the sky?

In 1995 Barr started to paint intensively, and since then he exhibited his paintings in Israel, Europe, Canada and the USA.

Barr’s art comes from inside, influenced by the ‘cores of stars’. Science and art collaborate together. Barr has a large collection of astronomy books. The photographs which were sent by the Hubble Space telescope influenced his latest paintings.

Light is emphasized by darkness. Known and unknown worlds evoke fear and fantasy. Light symbolizes beauty, good deeds and belongs to heaven and god. Darkness symbolizes bad and evil. For many people stars and light stand for many bright glowing lights, in the sky at night. The glowing light typically seen from Earth is caused by actual nuclear reaction, occurring within the stars core.

The nuclear reactions are balanced by the outflow of energy to the surface of the star, which produces the glow.

The star is a massive, luminous ball of plasma. One of the nearest stars to Earth is the Sun which is the source of the energy on Earth.

Curiosity and spontaneity urge Barr to investigate new techniques and media in order to express his search for galactic art. His teacher, Bracha Bienvenida Guy, suggested to him to choose tar as a basic layer for his paintings. Barr works with ten to twenty layers of color, including oil, acrylic and lac lasur. The tar helps the black become blacker and emphasizes his palette of glimmering colors.

The huge abstract shapes start from the core and spread by the brush towards the outside of the canvas. The strokes are windy, stormy and sensual. There are no borders to the paintings, except the frame of the canvas. The movement of the brush is swift, spontaneous and dotty and detailed, just in few places.

Barr developed a new style of abstract art. He lets the brush take him as far as possible. The circles and elypses become larger and larger. The red-pink-yellowish colors are emphasized by the blue-green-purplish dark background, which takes the viewer into infinity. The inside feelings of the painter turn into an insight the observer cannot ignore. The magical trip is endless.

Try to imagine that you hold sand in your hand and try to count each single piece.There are more stars in the universe than individual grains of sand on every beach on our planet Earth. Our galaxy is one galaxy in the universe, that contains hundreds of billions of other galaxies. Our galaxy is round and flat, kind of like CD , or an old 33 speed record with a bulge at the center, a collection of old stars circulating the center of the galaxy around a black hole, named Sagittarius a, at the very center with the mass of 3000 Suns.

The painter Kandinsky chose to paint abstract painting instead of naturalistic ones at the period that nuclear fission was discovered. Barr found a ‘New Space’ since Hubble sent its photos back to earth. Barr tries to ‘mold his paintings’, to ‘stretch his canvas’ and to find the right colors and light and darkness. He uses manmade paints: acrylics and oils, with natural elements: tar and asphalt. The tar dries slowly while acrylics and oils dry faster. There are cracks which penetrate the paintings and they look like old skin of man and earth. His shapes look like floating continents, bands of pearls and circles, and they have curved and soft borders. You can imagine birds, clouds and nests. The bright colors  mingle with muddy dark black backgrounds.

Looking, starring and absorbing the magic of far space make a man feel the infinity. The feeling when looking at the sky cannot be translated into words. The feeling of divine magic floats and flies through a silken scarf in the wind.

Magic and science, astrology and astronomy, collaborate together while we talk about outer space. Theodor Barr experiences space through his soul, heart and eyes. He transfers his feelings into his magic paintings.

The big size of the canvas, 110 X 150 cm, and the square ones at the size of 120 X 120 cm. emphasize the endless, vast spacey area. Barr knows where he starts his paintings, but he let himself being captured in the abstract flowing shapes.

The colors are so amazing, sparkling and mixed in a very unusual combination. The cold colors, of green and blue become hotter in his paintings. The red, like the red giants is deep and unique. The white like the white dwarfs, and black like the black holes, are deeper than familiar colors. They look as being mixed by celestial brush. Colors are mixed and used by each artist in an individual way. The way of mixing the hues, the strokes of the brush, and the blending of white and black to the original colors, make the paintings of Barr unique and bizarre.

The observer feels the sensual and total freedom of Barr’s art. The freedom reached after a long experience, after a long research and through a lot of paths he passed in his art; collaborate with long hours of gazing at the starry sky.

Barr is a unique artist. He is not associated with a group of artists, or certain
movement of art. He is paving his own way, tries to find the unusual and unique colors that he experiences from the bottom of his heart and imagination.

Each painting is unique, unusual in the combination of shapes and colors.

Barr does not sign his name on the canvas ,but forms a private symbol,  a symbol of two stick men, made up of 35 white dots, which has to do with the number eight In Kabala – 8 relates to eternity.

Judy Bracha

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