"Não encontro dificuldade em definir-me: sou um temperamento feminino com uma inteligência masculina. A minha sensibilidade e os movimentos que dela procedem, e é nisso que consistem o temperamento e a sua expressão, são de mulher. As minhas faculdades de relação - a inteligência, e a vontade, que é a inteligência do impulso - são de homem. (...) Reconheço sem ilusão a natureza do fenómeno. É uma inversão sexual fruste."
Fernando Pessoa, in PREFÁCIO, (1915?)
MICHAEL BARRETT – Painter of memories
Art is not resigned nor is hostage to any subterfuge; otherwise, it will not be Art! On the contrary, its repulsion.
Art allows for the communion between responsibility, knowledge and action. With mechanisms of sensitive matter and aesthetic content, which attract, committing us in a global will of harmony and allowing for boosting that reality.
Art and its production is the most visceral condition to communicate and preserve latent the present of times, the Human Being and its History.
Without any doubt, being a reference in the Portuguese art of the 20th century, Michael Barrett emphasized modernity in his pictorial work defined by the extraordinary sensitivity that he instilled in the representations of everyday life, that, where he passed, would make him in love for them.
An inner journey of World analysis, invading reality, and which gives us the respective amplitude of feelings, values and emotions in a very personal and intimate palette, either in the profusion of colours in oil, acrylic or watercolour, as in solitary dialogue between black / grey stains in watercolour that complete the trace and the China ink, which define itineraries of each existence; such as the pen drawings presenting streets that invite to be social or, in contrary, loneliness felt, sensed and maintained as necessary.
A democratization of the artwork that touches a Modern Impressionism and, sometimes, also an neorealism, avoiding the conventional patterns and the academicisms of fashion.
However, he was markedly influenced by an impressionist / expressionist school, taking as a reference the master, Henri Matisse, who he admired for his compositions, where only the essential was portrayed.
Barrett allows us, museologists, to work the artistic patrimony as if it were a trip and / or an autobiography, even when the other is not in himself, but accepting and valuing differences and promoting the multiplicity of each of us from himself, creating scenarios and humanities; describing people (family, friends, people, himself), places and familiar landscapes. Challenging the human capacity, I believe in: Love!
Barrett is undoubtedly an individual worth for the Memories that he translated through Art without barriers and without the constraints mentioned earlier by me. It is required, in the Art panorama in Portugal in the 20th century, that we do justice to these exponents of the artistic movement: putting their works in our museums of contemporary art, on permanent exhibition and not allowing for them to be limited only to the reserves or to vicissitudes of the gallery market, although this area is also important; promoting these names in the media available for their internationalization, such as Art Project of Google Cultural Institute, developing and supporting valuable academic work and promoting them.
I am convinced that these are the primary responsibilities of nowadays museums. To counter this emerging responsibility, will condemn the national art to ostracism and postpone the democratization of access to Art and Culture.
Because I believe that the Path is made of Memories, because, if Art promotes the Present and its reflection in Future, it will work as a mirror for Today’s and Tomorrow’s characters in a communion of knowledge, errors, effects, victories, joy, sadness, defeats: SPOILS OF US!
Michael Barrett, as well as others responsible for the artistic production in Portugal, offer us the hymns of the poetic of the human heart, brought by a silent Path of the historical past, stripped of hollow artifices, such as all the Art that should be honest, in order to achieve the honesty which will allow us to survive: THE RECONSTRUCTION OF US: RESURRECTION!
Michael Nicholas Barrett was born in Paris on February 13, 1926 (English mother - Dorothy Alice Barrett - and French father). Come to Portugal at the age of nine. It was the architect Gil Grace who encouraged him for painting. He died on May 6, 2004, in Cascais.
He married Marie Louise Forsberg, Swedish, in 1961, with whom he had two sons, John Nicholas (born in 1961) and Teresa Cristina (born in 1963).
From the 70s, 20th century, he spent long periods of time in Aveiro. In the 90s, he moved to Buarcos where Marie Louise died.