Barry A. Conner

Artist Information

Barry A. Conner

An Amer­i­can artist, born in East Texas, Bar­ry Con­ner’s work has always attract­ed atten­tion. A child­hood nat­u­ral­ist, and an avid nat­ur­al artist, draw­ing, paint­ing, and sculpt­ing from ear­li­est child­hood, he went on to study Fine Arts with an aca­d­e­m­ic empha­sis in Stu­dio Art, in Sculp­ture. He is a pro­fes­sion­al Fine Artist and an art instruc­tor. Bar­ry is expe­ri­enced in vir­tu­al­ly all Fine Art media, with a long-time and ongo­ing empha­sis in large-can­vas paint­ings. He is a pro­fes­sion­al jew­el­ry design­er and bench jew­el­er, a faceter of pre­cious gem­stones, and a jew­el­ry stone­cut­ter. His back­ground also includes pub­lic the­atre stage paint­ings and wall mur­al art for homes and businesses.

Bar­ry is seri­ous about Fine Art, and is dri­ven by an artis­tic bal­ance between per­fec­tion­ism and expres­sive spon­tane­ity. Although his work and sub­jects are sur­pris­ing­ly var­ied, that same striv­ing for aes­thet­ic excel­lence is per­va­sive through it all.

From the time that he was walk­ing and talk­ing, Bar­ry was also doing art­work. From ear­ly on, he excelled in art shows and con­tests. His par­ents rec­og­nized his abil­i­ty and inter­est. They helped him with art mate­ri­als, took him to exhibits and muse­ums, and were sup­port­ive through each endeav­or and oppor­tu­ni­ty. By the age of twelve, Bar­ry had par­tic­i­pat­ed in an adult exhib­it of wildlife art with The Audubon Soci­ety and had sold acrylic paint­ings at the down­town arts and crafts fair. He even was the sub­ject of a fea­ture mag­a­zine in the local news­pa­per. Much of Bar­ry’s ear­li­est art tend­ed toward nat­ur­al real­ism — often drawn or paint­ed — with occa­sion­al for­ays into sculp­ture, car­toon­ist abstrac­tion, and oth­er cre­ative explorations.

By his late teens, his love of such aes­thet­ic explo­rations as sur­re­al­ism and min­i­mal­ism were find­ing their way into his work. Through the years, Bar­ry embraced every oppor­tu­ni­ty to pur­sue his art­work both in school and on his own time, even­tu­al­ly going on to major in Fine Arts at Sam Hous­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty, with a Stu­dio Art empha­sis in Sculp­ture. He stud­ied under such notable artists as sculp­tor Charles Peb­worth, print­mak­er Stan­ley E. Lea, and painters Gad­dis Geeslin and Har­ry J. Ahysen.

From his teenage years and into adult­hood, Bar­ry spent count­less hours pro­fes­sion­al­ly, as a work­ing artist, devel­op­ing his skills in the broad range of Fine Art genre and art media: nature, land­scape, and wildlife scenes; real­is­tic illus­tra­tions; avant-garde, sym­bol­ic, and sur­re­al­ist works; expres­sion­ism and abstract expres­sion­ism; min­i­mal­ism; plein air; still life; and both tra­di­tion­al por­trai­ture and the rep­re­sen­ta­tions of cher­ished pets; Fine Art murals and trompe l’oeil illu­sions for both pri­vate and com­mer­cial loca­tions; draw­ings in pen-and-ink, graphite, char­coal, pas­tel, con­té, and oth­er pig­ments; sculp­tures; jew­el­ry design, fab­ri­ca­tion, and lost-wax cast­ings; lap­idary and faceting of gem­stones; ceram­ics; glass­work; zinc-plate etch­ing, stone lith­o­g­ra­phy, inked wood­cut, screened images, dig­i­tal­ly-cre­at­ed prints, and oth­er forms of print­mak­ing; even com­put­er graph­ics, draft­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, sign paint­ing, and the stone knap­ping of both orna­men­tal pieces and func­tion­al arrow­heads. He also shared his expe­ri­ence with oth­ers as a pri­vate art instructor.

A trans­for­ma­tive con­ver­sion expe­ri­ence at age twen­ty estab­lished Bar­ry’s Chris­t­ian faith, and he was soon bring­ing hope and emer­gency sup­plies to sur­vivors of the great Mex­i­co City earth­quake of 1985, as part of the inter­na­tion­al YWAM orga­ni­za­tion. Bar­ry’s con­fi­dence in the faith­ful­ness of God and in the pow­er and author­i­ty of Jesus Christ has had a dra­mat­ic and endur­ing impact on his life and art ever since. “Hope Endures”, 2015, and “Unto you is born this day a Sav­ior”, 2000, exem­pli­fy such influences.

In his mid thir­ties, through his ser­vices as a muralist/painter, sub­con­tract­ed for cus­tom homes and com­mer­cial prop­er­ties, Bar­ry found new expres­sive free­dom in paint­ing broad­ly and quick­ly on the much larg­er “can­vas” pro­vid­ed in a mur­al wall. From that time for­ward, his per­son­al styl­is­tic inspi­ra­tion has leaned toward an empha­sis on large acrylic paint­ings devel­oped in a man­ner some ways rem­i­nis­cent of the Impres­sion­ist School, but with the ener­gy and spon­tane­ity Bar­ry had loved about his past mur­al paint­ings. “Sur­re­al­ist Sun­rise”, 2014, and “Mam­moth Rock Seascape”, 2015, exem­pli­fy this approach.

In March of 2015, Bar­ry was asked for by the set-design man­ag­er at Texas Reper­to­ry The­atre — in The Cham­pi­ons, Texas — to serve as an emer­gency fill-in artist in place of their reg­u­lar scenic artist. Bar­ry’s ser­vices on the project led to his being offered, and accept­ing the posi­tion of Res­i­dent Scenic Artist there, where he served for over a year. He con­tin­ued pur­su­ing his own art­work, most­ly between pro­duc­tions. Cre­at­ing very large-scale art for the the­atre stage was rem­i­nis­cent of the mur­al paint­ing he had enjoyed from years ear­li­er. His work in the the­atre envi­ron­ment served to broad­en his expe­ri­ence in The Arts, pro­vid­ed an intro­duc­tion to many won­der­ful peo­ple, and gave him addi­tion­al pro­fes­sion­al expo­sure in the Greater-Hous­ton Area.

Decem­ber of 2016 marked anoth­er tran­si­tion, when Bar­ry and his wife relo­cat­ed to the Texas Hill Coun­try, where they found­ed the pop­u­lar and suc­cess­ful Flo­ral Vis­tas Gar­den Bou­tique & Gallery. The shop com­bined their respec­tive areas of inter­est and exper­tise. In addi­tion to serv­ing as his home gallery, the venue also fea­tured a broad range of both prac­ti­cal and dec­o­ra­tive items for home and patio decor, gifts, live plants, and pro­vid­ed full-ser­vice flo­ral design and deliv­ery to the region. Bar­ry took an active role in all aspects of the busi­ness, includ­ing artis­tic flo­ral design — tak­ing a sculp­tor’s approach to design­ing each arrange­ment of flow­ers, and also draw­ing inspi­ra­tion for art­work through his bur­geon­ing exper­tise in dec­o­ra­tive flo­ral varieties.

Bar­ry became an active mem­ber of the Canyon Lake Art Guild. In 2018, he became Newslet­ter Edi­tor for the orga­ni­za­tion, and in 2021, served on the Board of Direc­tors for the Guild.

He fre­quent­ly teach­es class­es in the cre­ation of art­work for both begin­ning and advanced stu­dents, as well as chil­dren, and has seen great suc­cess in the qual­i­ty of work pro­duced by his students.

The devel­op­ment of large, expres­sive acrylic can­vas­es has been a pri­ma­ry empha­sis in Bar­ry’s art­work since 2013. This work accords well both with his expe­ri­ence as a mural­ist, and with over a year spent at the the­atre. But this styl­is­tic shift actu­al­ly grew out of his enjoy­ment for large-scale, free-move­ment spon­tane­ity and expres­sion in his paint­ings. Many of these have an impres­sion­is­tic qual­i­ty. These dra­mat­ic pieces are also bet­ter suit­ed to the spa­cious wall areas of large homes and com­mer­cial installations.

An appre­ci­a­tion for min­i­mal­ist and abstract aes­thet­ics also con­tin­ues to influ­ence his work. He has also revis­it­ed his ear­ly inter­est as a sculp­tor. Addi­tion­al­ly, there has been an ongo­ing under­cur­rent of occa­sion­al­ly edgy, con­cep­tu­al, didac­tic, or sym­bol­ic paint­ings. These have pro­vid­ed an out­let for cre­ative, cathar­tic, and ide­o­log­i­cal expres­sion, but have yet to be shown pub­licly. Con­cep­tu­al­ly, philo­soph­i­cal and reli­gious aspects can be seen in much of Bar­ry’s art.

Very recent aes­thet­ic and the­mat­ic devel­op­ments include Bar­ry’s new inter­pre­ta­tions of his native Texas, and by his recent pur­suits into flo­ral design. His appre­ci­a­tion for the beau­ty intrin­sic in the nat­ur­al world will, of course, be reflect­ed in his new paintings.

Along with Bar­ry’s inborn, life­long impe­tus for cre­ative art, his pro­fes­sion­al artis­tic back­ground, train­ing and edu­ca­tion, life expe­ri­ences, spir­i­tu­al faith, prac­ti­cal skills and inge­nu­ity, ver­sa­til­i­ty with artis­tic styles and meth­ods, and his cre­ative vision pro­vide him a unique basis for his art­work. The cre­ation of inno­v­a­tive, mean­ing­ful, and impact­ful Fine Art is for Bar­ry both a pas­sion and a joy.

What­ev­er your inter­est, whether one of Bar­ry Con­ner’s orig­i­nal works as seen online or exhib­it­ed at a show or gallery loca­tion; or whether you would like to dis­cuss unique com­mis­sioned works of art as imag­ined and cre­at­ed by the artist espe­cial­ly for you, please don’t hes­i­tate to con­tact Gold Leaf Gallery.

Fine Art should ful­ly achieve not only the intent and artis­tic expres­sion of the artist for that piece, but it also reflects his or her cre­ative vision, aes­thet­ic sen­si­bil­i­ties, and pro­fes­sion­al skill: Every com­plet­ed work of art is a con­cise sum­ma­tion of the pro­fes­sion­al artist’s vision, abil­i­ties, pri­or­i­ties, and work eth­ic. When I com­plete a piece of art­work, it bears my sig­na­ture. This fact under­scores that it exem­pli­fies the very best of who I am as an artist, as well as what I’ve sought to achieve with the piece. My col­lec­tors deserve noth­ing less, and I am deter­mined to pro­duce noth­ing less. 
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