Larry Connatser (b. 1938 in Birmingham, AL – d. 1996 in Atlanta, GA) was an accomplished pianist and painter. He who grew up in Atlanta and lived on and off in Georgia throughout his life. A self-taught artist, Connatser developed an expressionistic and brilliantly colored style that usually portrays fantasy figures inhabiting dreamlike spaces. His innovative paintings, drawings, and murals are inspired by music, surrealism, and an intensive personal study of art history. After college, Connatser began to paint in his spare time. He developed a unique style using a vibrantly colored palette of acrylic paints that were executed on a hard panel of Masonite instead of canvas. Interlocking forms, often covered with dots and outlined in black marker, can be seen as a visual expression of his musical training. The paintings were usually untitled and intricately composed into imaginary landscapes containing discernible fantasy figures.
Connaster’s work has shown at the College of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA), Georgia State College (later Georgia State University; Atlanta,GA), the Columbia Museum of Art (SC), and the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences (later the Chrysler Museum of Art; VA). A prolific artist, he eschewed gallery representation and juried exhibitions, preferring to take commissions or exhibit his work when invited. Connatser received several public-mural commissions that gave his work increased exposure. He created 2,500 paintings, 800 drawings, and many murals in a career that lasted about three decades. Connatser died of AIDS in 1996. He was honored by a retrospective exhibition of his work, “Southern Melodies,” at the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah in 2002. His work is represented in numerous private collections and at the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Telfair Museum of Art, and the Morris Museum of Art, which is the residuary beneficiary of the Connatser estate.