Formal education left him with a balance of fine art technique and design sensibilities that are apparent in his work. A lifetime of creative enthusiasm has provided him with many opportunities for experimentation with this balance, while seeking new visual languages, context, and interface between art styles and culture that effects our world.
Joel’s paintings reveal various visual motifs. Many of the themes develop during the painting process, often improvised, and continue to evolve into more complex con- ceptual ideas. Joel’s work has often paired mechanical techniques and graphic design style with pain- terly texture, and natural material such as woodgrain. The influence of pop culture, graf- fiti art, and graphic design affect his interpretations of traditional landscape and figure. Visually, Barber dwells in the area where there is an oscillation between the paint on the surface and the image contained within.
“My first very prolific series began in 1999, in which I manipulated closely cropped photos of women's faces, with photoshop, and used these images to map out compositions on canvas. It was an excellent experiment because the repetition gave great context and a reference point for the effectiveness of each style or technique. Now, I’ve returned to these same compositions, curious to see how the last decade has affected me stylistically.”