(c. 1900-1964) Patrocino Barela is known for his stylized sculptures carved from cedar or pine. They have often been referred to as the best of primitivism, or, viewed somewhat differently, as the finest of self-taught modernism.
From the Owings-Dewey Fine Art exhibition catalogue essay by Mildred Tolbert: "Barela was a wood sculptor who turned out a prodigious body of work in his short lifetime (1908-1964). No doubt making these beautiful objects was his greatest pleasure; they expressed his philosophy and aspects of his culture. His work seems hard for critics, curators and scholars to categorize. He has been described as a "primitive, a modern, a santero, an 'outsider artist,' his carvings compared to Meso-American, South Pacific, 11th century Romanesque, Byzantine, Renaissance, even German Expressionist." But no one questions the beauty and power of their lines and mass, or the aesthetic pleasure they evoke."