"Barter's art harks back to Marsden Hartley and other American Modernists and their abstracting ways, a kind of school has spring up in his own impressive wake. You can hear the gallery-goer point to a brashly painted Maine landscape by a contemporary and say 'I see a bit of Barter there'. Like Andrew Wyeth, he has his emulators. And you can understand why: the appeal of Barter's stylized renderings of trees and rivers, mountains and clouds, is powerful. His ability to extract the essence of the landscape provokes marvel. He sees the geometry of a peak, the jagged coursing of woodland streams, a snowfield's curving contours. His palette, often not for the faint of hue, underscores his lively vision.
He is a master simplifier, composing each canvass out of the core elements of the scene: trees, water, sky and island, say. In the purity and boldness of his northern vision, Barter is kin to some of the painters in Canada's Group of Seven. There is a lot of give and take in life, and Philip Barter's paintings reflect his our-of-the-ordinary journey. To play on his name, this artist had bartered plenty to achieve the stature he enjoys today: one of our very finest." --Carl Little, Maine art critic and author