"This is a patient at the VA, waiting for her psychiatric exam for hospital dismissal. The fear and concern is reflected in her eyes."
- Barbara Barnett
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Los Angeles, CA
“Painting gives meaning to my existence.”
US Army Veteran, Barbara Barnett paints her way through life’s journey. Unbound to a defining style, she resolves to explore abstract compositions in her rhythmic collection. Whether through series such as “My town” or “Paths,” a distinct green or circle motif weaves across series, binding them together. She says her art represents the “acceptance of the journey and the sharp turns in the river of life. We all have our own journeys. It’s not necessarily reflective of my own, but the underlying things that are in our heads and minds.” Though there are autobiographical elements- Untitled 6 (sister series) was inspired by conversations with her sister, and the My Town series is her hometown, her pieces ask us to reflect on our position in the present while acknowledging the moment is part of a whole.
Originally, art provided Barbara with a refuge from the demands of PTSD/MST after serving in the Medical Corp in Germany during the Vietnam War. This period of her life is represented by the Women Warriors series created in 2010. “Women warriors are a part of my healing but my art has grown from cathartic pain release to my journey through art.” These pieces have lived in many exhibits across the country (The Endowment for Veteran Arts Campaign, Veteran Arts Institute, Leedy-Voulkos Gallery in Kansas City among other showings.) Over time, Barbara has departed from these figural portraits to entertain other inspirations and curiosities.
Her focus on “abstract architectural” art began from dreams of becoming an architect. She instead earned her PhD in Psychology after her dispatch from the Army, but her draw to architecture always guided her creativity. When visiting museums, she says she appreciates the architecture and design of the museum just as much, if not more than the art itself. “I’m drawn to it because it’s planned and engineered but beyond that, the great architects of our days have moved us all in new directions.” She considers architecture a secondary passion, but together - she molds architecture with art. In her compositions, she takes a spatial approach considering where things should be positioned and left out, the same way one would explore physical space. The interaction of space felt in the physical world is rendered in her two dimensional realm of paintings.
Barbara currently lives in Southern California where she experiments in her studio. She continues to educate herself and explore capabilities of new mediums and textures. Rendering geometry in abstracted views, playing with the ripples of circles, and refining her color palate are little moments of her artistic journey that continue to evolve through life’s winding pathways.
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