Kale Barr is a Canadian artist living and working in Calgary, Alberta. Barr’s dream-like abstract expressionist paintings are inspired by a combination of his real-life experiences and the transformative nature of his surroundings. Inspired by Jackson Pollock, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and George Condo, Barr uses a unique blend of color layering that utilizes acrylic and oil paint with wild yet calculated paint splashes. His painting technique creates works that simultaneously enthrall and still the viewer. His work invites the viewer into his raw yet animated world of swirling color and dark chaos. Within Barr’s work is a balance of harmony and destruction, letting go of perfection and symmetry, leaving behind a “beautiful mess.” Having lived across Canada, Nevada, and Washington, Barr’s life has been one of ever-changing dramatic surroundings, both naturally and personally. His work emotes a shared journey in all of us, through dark and through light. Created from within his world of vivid subject matters that he draws out from within, he leaves a piece of his story in each of them.
While gazing upon Barr’s art, the viewer is launched both into motion and stillness, peace and madness. Barr’s art speaks without words, both an expression of the immediate moment in time and timelessness itself. The works lend themselves to his abuse as a child, the warpath he created, and his unshaken redemption. Within Barr’s paintings are his signature triple “X” marks which represent occasional symbolism and his sometimes cryptic poetry carry Barr’s signature sense of style and elusive technique. Animated, emotional, emulating of George Condo, De Kooning, Pollock, abstractive, distinctive in style; are some of the many words used to describe Barr’s work. To some, butterflies dance across his canvas, their wings take flight as splatters of vibrant color; to others, lions, crowns, eyes, and faces peer out from beneath the canvas. Due to the elusive nature of Barr’s paintings, finding the true message behind his work has become an obsession to many of his viewers. And so, it is indeed not the specific subjects themselves taking precedence when it comes to Kale Barr; it is that each abstract painting adapts a unique communication of its own depending on the viewer.