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Barry Treu

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Wausau, Wisconsin

Lives in
Freeport IL

Works in
Freeport IL


University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1988, MFA

modern, abstract, mixed-media


 An important part of my process is observing the unintentional partnering of visual elements in the world. For instance, behind a theater, I discover dismantled prop pieces placed next to or overlapping each other, leaning against a wall. They are put there without regard for the color, shape or design and how they may appear aesthetically.

I find this most enticing. These compositions that occur haphazardly ... of course my eye does choose ... seem so refreshing compared to overly thought out arrangements. This coincidence of elements has an unexpected aesthetic.  A confluence of elements that occurs from some workman just doing his job of cleaning out the prop room, the debris of a building site, or how things are tossed in a dumpster.

I photograph these found arrangements and print them out to begin. I then draw into the prints or make sketches inspired by them. This quickly moves into the intuitive after the initial charcoal sketch on canvas. Through the accumulation of paint, via trial and error, accident and conscious choice, the development of textures and layers of color begin to appear. With the contrasting elements of curves, angles, visible and obscured lines, I arrive at a work which becomes an object unto itself with evidence of the process of its construction.

Recently I have added  collage elements that provide lines which capture me, and so I appropriate them. I title my work  referencing significant numbers or a poetic phrase that creates a resonance with the piece. You can see how the collaged lines have influenced the paintings just before and leading up to the "map" pieces.

I work with palette knives, putty knives, and other plastering and painting tools found at the hardware store - rarely a brush. This method satisfies the desire within me to construct something out of the remnants of the original sources. What happens in the larger areas with a slurry of paint or an edge of one slightly different shade of color next to another is a challenge to bring nearly indistinguishable differences together.

Recent Exhibits

Barry Treu participated in these exhibits:

Apr, 2011 Fifth All-Media Juried Biennial
Art and Culture Center of Hollywood

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