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BIOGRAPHY OF FOUNDER
Ted Barr was born in Constance Romania, on the shores of the Black Sea. At the age of four, his family immigrated to Israel. In 1975 Barr was drafted into the Israeli army, in which he served as a regular soldier, officer, and reservist for twenty-six years. In 1992 Barr graduated from Israeli Battalion Commanders' Academy and served as a deputy battalion commander with the rank of a Major.
In 1980, after release from his conscripted army service, Barr began seven years of study in his fields of interest: Symbolism, Buddhism, Ancient Egypt, Numerology, and Kabbala and then went on to earn an M.B.A degree in marketing from the Tel Aviv University, graduating in 1990.
In 1995 Barr started seven years of private art lessons under the Israeli master Shlomo Tzafrir in Old Jaffa where his first exhibition opened to the public in 2001.
The leading concepts in Barr's art are Deep Space and celestial elements, the beginnings of life, embryos, ovum, and the development of the embryo in the womb, inspired by the Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson's images.
Barr does not sign his name on his canvasses. Instead, he developed a private symbol that encapsulates his esoteric studies experience and represents his life philosophy written in his FLY book.
Barr has since exhibited his works in New York, Montreal, Palo Alto, Perugia, Guadalajara, Detroit, Chianciano Terme, San Antonio, Cannes, Miami, Toronto, Venice, Mumbai, Delhi, Kathmandu, Jaipur, Udaipur, Berlin, San Francisco, Dallas, Delhi, Tel Aviv, and Paris.
Barr wrote several books:
‘Crombie’, a children's book published by Shalgi PH
‘Frau Gruber's Farm’, an allegory about the Hitler regime, published by Tamuz PH in Hebrew in 2006 and translated into English in 2011
'LTC Insurance', published by Bursi PH on 2009
'FLY- Have magic in your life', published by contento PH on December 2017.
In October 2008 Barr founded the Current Art Group, an international artist gathering, with over 7000 members worldwide.
Since 2009 Barr curates art shows for The Current Art Group members in Miami, NYC, Paris, Venice, and Tel Aviv and leads the FLY workshops where he teaches his FLY (Free the Life within You) technique which he developed and uses in his artworks.
From 2014 Barr collaborates with architects and designers implementing his art on various industries like:
Fashion - Milano, Label 2 Fashion House
Cars - Boca Raton, Florida, Ferrari cars
Furniture - Israel, Alex Padwa and, India, Romil Dhakar
Kitchens and home decor - Israel, Yafit Riklin - Tifa studio
Carpets - Bhadohi, India, Bhadohi carpets
Starting from 2016 Barr developed targeted FLY workshops for schools, enhancing creativity and authentic self-expression, he works closely with educational plans in schools, art academies, and universities in India and Israel.
It took more than 15 years for colors and shapes to join and be part of my self-expression. In my FLY book I wrote about our place as sparkling entities within the vastness of a dark universe, when I started to paint, stars and galaxies landed on my canvases. Then I was exposed to Lennart Nilsson's inner body photography and, I was amazed about the similarity between stars and ovum, comets and sperms, embryos and galaxies, so, on big canvases I created my version of the beginning of human life. From those two series', emerged my current body of works 'Cycles of Life'. In my belief life and death are
on the same bar of existence and there is no 'out there'.
My method is called Free the Life within You, FLY is about the freedom to dare, cross the lines, be spontaneous, to mix oil and acrylic with cold tar in an unpredictable process and to embrace the unexpected results. Since 2009 I have been teaching FLY workshops around the globe. I believe that making and teaching art is my part of a collective effort to enlighten our world.
I never went to an art school and didn’t even paint before I was 40. I started my painting lessons with an old Israeli master where for seven years I was his sole student. He was teaching in the old master’s techniques for two years he taught me to draw using only pencils and charcoals. At this stage I felt that there was something out there in my art that has to do with my way of expression that I need to explore and implement into my life, but not in this way, not the traditional way, I knew I needed to find my own path. I wanted to paint galaxies and stars but during all our 7 years together my master didn’t let me
After my master's death in 2002, I ceased painting for 6 months, it wasn’t just the loss of a person I loved and appreciated but the end of an era in my life. I waited to start again, it was then that I found myself meditating in nature and felt fully connected to myself and to all that surrounded me the Earth and the starry night. I had a great desire to paint again. The free spirit period in my life started. I felt completely free to do whatever I wanted and express myself without limits, I felt a need to depart from the classic figurative painter I was then. I went out to Nature without easel and brushes, put a canvas on the ground, and used my body to form and shape the paints on the canvas. I was dancing and celebrating my aliveness in nature. I was in awe of the stars above and felt united with Planet Earth and all that lives upon it. I felt that space is not millions of light-years away but an integral part of my being, an aspect of an everlasting collective consciousness. I let it all flow naturally onto the canvas.
It fulfilled my inner quest for meaning and connection. I’ve always asked myself questions about the origins of the universe, life, and my place on Earth. I’ve read many books, searched many spiritual paths, and traveled around the world to explore my passion.
I realized that when I paint in this new way I am everything that I’m looking for, and all I need is to be open, experience the magnificence of life, and express it on the canvas. It helped me to transcend my mundane life of a home, family, job, and responsibilities, and connect to the authentic essence of life.
I didn’t use traditional art techniques or followed any conventional modalities. I made experiments pouring acrylics, oils, lacquers, and black tar, to create the deep space effects on the horizontal canvas. The paints mixed naturally and created unexpected effects that could not be done with brushes and a vertical easel. Later I’ve found that these molecular interactions between the diverse ingredients had mathematical patterns of fractals that also describe celestial movements of the galaxies and cellular processes in the body.
From this state of mind I started writing, the novel ‘The man that was almost there’ about being there as the sheer feeling of unity with what exists the immersion in pure consciousness that has no boundaries, laws or morals it is being there and that’s it.
At first, I only showed my paintings to family and friends who enjoyed them and encouraged me to keep painting the hazardous figures that appeared so unexpectedly in my art. I hadn’t any aspirations to show my paintings and I didn’t worry about anyone’s opinion.
In 2006, my small home town of Ramat Hasharon, in Israel, organized an open house weekend where residents opened their homes to show their personal artwork. I listed myself and it was the first time I ever showed my paintings publicly. The most common reaction from my neighbors was, “It’s different. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
One of the visitors was a curator who invited me for a solo show in Tel Aviv. As more people were exposed to my paintings, I was amazed by some of the strong reactions to them. Some burst in tears. Some moved on through the gallery and kept coming back to the paintings every few minutes.
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, I saw a man looking at my paintings for hours. I didn’t identify myself and just observed him coming back again and again. The following day he brought his wife. On the third day he brought more people, they came directly to my paintings, through the main door of the show at DeVos center, which had in these show more than four hundred thousand spectators, that man presented my works to his entourage and started to analyze them. I still didn’t identify myself but listened carefully to his scholarly perspective. Later I learned that he was a Psychology Professor at the university and I’ve learned from him a lot about my art. He saw repeating patterns and symbols that I have not seen before or even intended to paint. It’s just how the paints happen to mélange. He talked about primordial patterns, the tuning fork principle, and psychological archetypes. I finally introduced myself to him on the last day of the show and asked him to open more the tuning fork aspect. Then he said that the artist in his work is tuned with a certain energy, the more he is focused and ‘lose himself’ in the artwork the more he becomes an integral part of its art by attuning his frequency to the art he creates. Colors and shapes are but the custodians of this frequency on the art medium, and if the viewer is attuned as well and have this essence within him, by the principle of the tuning fork this essence is liberated, fulfills its all being and cause him a sense of awe. It has nothing to do with the subject matter, technique, or the art movement but only with inner feelings and emotions revived by the frequency of the artwork deciphered by the viewer.
The more I show my paintings around the world, the more I enjoy people’s diverse reactions to them. In 2009 I started to teach the Free the Life within You (FLY) workshops for full self-expression through art. We mix the creator, the observer, nature, and media together. Magic happens.
Have magic in your life.
- Ted Barr -
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