Barbara Barrett’s artworks include cattle, rocks, feathers, bones, koi fish, swans, water plants, pigeons, pears, seashells. Straightforward and direct; artist as naturalist; her work portrays the natural world caught elegantly poised, if only for a fleeting instant. Dignified and grand or dark and foreboding, Barbara Barrett’s reveals the natural world as if it almost appears to have posed for a formal portrait. Yet within this captured moment, glints life’s steadfast progress and time ever fleeting.
Yet it is not so much the subject of Barbara Barrett’s work that is worth noting, but more the labor of disciplined practice and mastery in the making of art that each piece represents. Working with a subject for perhaps years, Barbara Barrett’s has refined her technique in drawing, painting and printmaking. Her cattle series spanned five years. Koi Fish series, spanned two years, and a feather series spanned 6 years thereafter. An exquisite mastery of both subject and technique is evident in Barbara Barrett’s work.
Unburned from the search for subject, an instead focused on process and technique; Barbara grasped an opportunity to concentrate on process. Deliberate and thus so developed, her success is evident both in technique mastery and also a deep understanding of her subject.
Drawing in Prismacolor on colored French pastel paper is the most common media Barbara Barrett explores. Over much of her career, Barbara Barrett produced a remark 52 full-sheet drawings a year, not to mention paintings and other works. Drawing is central to her expression. More expedient than painting, a series of drawings may represent well over several hundred works, and yet may culminate in only one or two paintings. Works in oil, provide a rare yet magnificent glimpse of her well studied subject.
Prismacolor is also a convenient media for Barbara Barrett while juggling a family, a career as a teacher, community volunteer and contemporary life’s myriad of distractions. Barbara Barrett found drawing to be a medium she could pick up and put down whenever time permitted. Her drawings are finished works.
The relished labor of art making and her ever-increasing clarity in purpose, continue to draw Barbara Barrett to the studio. Through years of coordinating hand, eye, material, and passion, her work excels in mastery, elegance of expression, reflects a message atypical of much of the art world today.
Recently a new series began; the subject is now the goddess.
Art as a Life Journey
For visual artist Barbara Barrett life journey began in Fresno, California, where she was born to John and Oleta Little-Heart Pilakowski. As a toddler she grew up in Caliola, California, a residential settlement for the employees of Shell Oil….