Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Art of Deborah Barlow - Living At Large With the World

Nobra-Luce - 1 24" x 24"

A Barlow painting is full of life, alive with color, mood, and depth.

That’s how I feel today, and that’s how I felt the first time I saw one of the artist’s first works many years ago. At the time, I was unable to articulate why I loved it, I just did. Given that our families have known each other for a lifetime, I believe her when she tells me that the most important message she wants her art to convey is to feel art with my body, not my brain. Art should evoke a sensation.


It has been said that a Barlow painting has the ability to draw you in from across the room, in an instant. I’ve felt that too. There seem to be spaces between what is hidden and what is seen, perhaps due to the fact that there are as many as 40-50 layers of color and texture on each canvas, many of them from unexpected sources, namely rice paper, marble dust, silk and foil, with the last layers done in oil. Deborah experiments how the materials absorb the pigment successively, giving each piece its own credentials. Could this be akin to Pentimento? The result is magnificent. It is unclear where one layer begins and another ends.

M’Flua 2 30x30

Recently when speaking with Deborah about her work, I asked about the interesting names given to her paintings, to which she responded quietly, “they are in code, known only to me”; …but one might like to wonder whether her travel is inspired by her paintings or whether her paintings are inspired by her travel. I think it can be said that while her images are deeply layered invocations of landscapes that strike her, cultures that move her, or ancient relics that fire her imagination, the art of Deborah Barlow is as reflective of her soul as much of what she witnesses.

Archaos 30” x 44”

To learn more about Deborah’s work please go here.

Barbara Ashfield


Di said...

Deborah's paintings are stunning with movement and regenerative power. The one I own is mounted high so I have to lift my head, as if getting out of myself to view.

Maureen said...

Deborah is a friend. Her work is stunning and deserves attention. Thank you for this.

Adeeni said...

I would love to see the paintings in person, which surely makes one appreciate the depth, layers and subtleties. The best art books can never truly show the real beauty of a painting.