Liz Barber

Artist Statement

"My paintings are layered bursts of energy that record experience. Blending nature in the here and now with memories or past experience. Shape,form and line fall into a sea of emotion. A shape appears first as a reflection, then drifts into volumetric configurations. At once capturing the sense of nature with movement and light creating an artistic metaphor both opaque and airy, thick and organic.

I am constantly aware of creating light within the work through color pairings and interactions. I pour colors onto the canvas and watch what happens. I intuitively edit and add. I don’t know that it is different from the Impressionist mindset. I am projecting an emotional response to my surroundings in a moment captured not a pastoral landscape; but the glow of the light or the movement of the forms in the painting are similar. The difference may be the application. It’s not the vigorous brushstroke but the calm, soothing application in a more organic way. 

Mixed media allows for more creative freedom. It is a way to give the materials more of a voice. I direct, they sing. I use many materials to begin a piece. These can be manipulated and moved around as I form the idea of the painting. Mediums are added to get the desired consistency to allow application that takes my heavy hand out of it. I chime in to gather the idea together.

I also use graphite and oil pastel as drawn elements. I love to use mark making in the painting as a resting place for the eye. And to add diversity from the very organic shapes used in my work. Translucency is created in many ways and is usually the result of great experimentation. Water and mediums are added to the materials to ‘see what happens. I then use hard edges in oil paint to edit finding the gems in the underlying layers. 

The shapes I choose are very organic. The theme of my work would be seasons changing or rather watching what changes around me in my environment and seeing that come through the work. I have a pull toward certain palettes at certain times of the year. Shapes are anchors that our minds stop to reflect on. We identify them either as ambiguous or a form we recognize. I use subtle or intense color interaction to create the depth or space in the piece. There is a lot of discovery as I paint. I am intuitively responding to shapes made as happy accidents or intentionally as final touches. I heighten certain shapes by making them the focal point or hide them beneath other layers to create the sense of a pool of water or an image seen within a wave crashing. My work commands the viewer’s visceral response, one that is not superseded by representational or abstract imagery nor technical analysis." -Liz Barber