Thursday, June 7, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Mark Barry at Vermont Arts Exchange's Mill Gallery in North Bennington

Baltimore and North Bennington painter Mark Barry brings his vibrant paintings to Vermont Arts Exchange's Mill Gallery in a new exhibition, Mark Barry: The Return of the Prodigal Son and Other Tales. The show opens with a reception at VAE on Thursday, June 14, 5-8 pm, and is on view through August 13, 2012.

The show features oil paintings of varying sizes, as well as prints. Among Barry's many themes are jazz musicians at play (inspired and enlivened by the jazz he listens to as he paints) and jubilant family gatherings at the artist's home. VAE Director Matthew Perry says, "His work is wonderfully accessible in terms of subject. He celebrates life from its grand to its littlest moments, all with astounding color and movement."

Barry's most recent work includes images of the everyday and playtime in Maryland and Vermont, both of which he calls home.

"I paint the seemingly ordinary moments of life, that aren't ordinary at all," says Barry. Whether it's biking, playing croquet, skiing or swinging on a swing, the artist portrays an honest snapshot—rich with color and movement. More intimate images give a window into his home life, drawing inspiration from everyday observations and depicting wife and daughter (Sandra and Hannah, respectively) preparing meals, playing board games, repairing household items, celebrating, and relaxing. The family's two dogs (Olive and Matilda) are also shown begging for treats, playing fetch, and riding in the car.

"Barry's greatest gift is the happiness with which he endows his images," praised the late John Dorsey, longtime Baltimore Sun art critic. "This is not a mindless, silly happiness, but springs from a deep appreciation of life. Whatever Barry's people do—cook soft crabs, play with the dog, read quietly, have a night out, kiss one another, take a bath—Barry has them do it with a loving sense of the gift of time."

Image: Mark Barry, The Return of the Prodigal One, oil on canvas, 42" x 36"