Paintings            GARY BARTEN
detail - 'Hidden Mountain Reflecting the New Year'Hidden Mountain Reflecting the New Yeardetail - 'Hidden Mountain in Autumn'Hidden Mountain in Autumndetail - 'Hidden Mountain in December'Hidden Mountain in Decemberdetail - History of Hidden Mountain / TrilobiteHistory of Hidden Mountain / Trilobitedetail - "Hidden Mountain Reflection"Hidden Mountain Reflectiondetail -"Hidden Mountain"Hidden Mountaindetail - "Fossil Mountain"Fossil Mountaindetail - 'Sky-Meadow-Mountain'Sky-Meadow-Mountaindetail - 'Fire Leaves the Mountain'Fire Leaves the Mountaindetail - 'Fire Comes to the Mountain'Fire Comes to the Mountaindetail - 'Mountain Lake'Mountain Lakedetail - 'Times' Temple Mountain'Time's Temple Mountaindetail - 'Phoenix Legend Mountain'Phoenix Legend Mountaindetail - 'Mountain at the Sea'Mountain at the Seadetail - 'Copper Cup Mountain'Copper Cup Mountaindetail - 'Mountain Access'Mountain Accessdetail - 'Falling Heart Mountain'Falling Heart Mountaindetail - "Ten Thousand Tread Mountain"Ten Thousand Tread Mountaindetail - "Manzanita Mountain"Manzanita Mountaindetail - "Pascal's Mountain"Pascal's Mountaindetail - "Dust Mountain"Dust Mountaindetail - "Clay Ground Mountain"Clay Ground Mountaindetail - "Smokestack Mountain"Smokestack Mountaindetail - "Dark Azured Moutain"Dark Azured Mountaindetail - "Red Mountain"Red Mountain
Into the Mountains
Paintings in ink and acrylic on
49" x 39" paper - 2013

While these paintings are meant to suggest a variety of readings of 'mountains' they do represent much of the familiar associations that we have with the massive landforms that loom on the horizon or slowly reach upwards engulfing us as we get nearer. The scale and topography of the paintings are meant to be considered with these associations in mind.

Since the terrain of mountains can be gradual or steep, gentle or hostile, inviting or treacherous, a path on any mountain may be as varied as the possible readings of scale and texture in these images. Both ascent and descent have their own characteristics, purposes, and difficulties. Mountainous size often means we can only see a partial view and so hidden access in ascent or descent is a potential windfall or disaster, Hidden access could be likened to the future and even a familiar descent is more present than past.

Much in the same way that maps represent landscapes these paintings are meant to represent landscapes of maps. Maps that range across the feet and miles of mountains and mountain ranges, they are also maps that count hours and years.

Images of the three ages of Man often include mountains if only as a vista. These paintings of mountains are in part inspired by the last of the three ages of Man, that of old age. Religious influence directed many European images of old age in paintings of the three ages of Man to include a voyage of resignation that eventually ended within the mountain.

However, I would like these images to suggest all that is possible in the ascent and traversing of the mountain. Instead of depicting a final resting place these are maps of the realization of potential, the completion of work long practiced towards its eventual mastery. Not a state of perfection at the top of the peak, these paintings are rather about this last third of our lives towards foreseen and unforeseen goals and forms of accomplishment that have little to do with conquering a mountain and all to do with an appreciation, celebration and recognition of new difficulties amidst continued aspiration and accomplishment.