Thursday, July 22, 2010

Artist Profile: Jennifer Barron

Jennifer Barron
Reminders & Remainders
Through August 1, reception July 29, 4-6 pm
Kitchen Wall, Acrylic, 48x36
In many ways, Jennifer Barron is a traditional painter: a fan of color, an enthusiast for materials, and an aficionado of technique. At the same time, her paintings are decidedly postmodern, situating illusory color in familiar scenes and bringing out peculiar perspectives from the mundane. The works seem like glimpses from idle gazes, where your eyes might rest at home while thinking of other things. 

She must paint with discipline as she created so much new, large work since her last exhibition less than a year ago.  Besides, Barron leads community outreach for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City and teaches at City Arts Center.
Wire, Acrylic, 8x6
Q: Talk about the idea for this show and how you developed the body of work.
Barron: The show contains work I've created throughout the past two years, but most of it is from the past 8 or 9 months. The newer pieces are all 3' x 4' or larger.

The idea is kind of taking something I've been thinking about for a while to its logical extreme- giving a different context to subject matter. I chose the smallest, most potentially overlooked things for the largest canvases. I feel like each one of the new pieces has a really different feel, and I think (I hope) I was successful at taking these subjects out of their contexts. I hope viewers can experience them as something else, even if they know what the subject started as...
Q: You mention experimenting with your work, what do you mean? 
Barron:  Well first of all, I’m experimenting with scale by painting larger than usual in many of these works. Also, I’m experimenting with paint application by adding paint with palette knives, wadded paper, and other techniques, layering over and over to achieve a more complex surface. Sometimes brushstrokes are visible, sometimes paint is blended more smoothly, sometimes layers are more or less transparent, but my aim is that there is a balance of these different elements that adds up to a surface where the colors appear even, saturated, and multi-faceted at the same time.  (I want to say ‘prismatic’ or something, but that sounds like an ad for hair dye…)
After All, Acrylic, 20x20
Q: The scale of these paintings is decidedly bigger than your other recent work.  Why?
Barron: I’ve always loved making larger paintings; I love their presence, and the physicality involved in creating these paintings (when I say large, I mean anything larger than 3’ x 3’). However, smaller ones (anything under about 20” x 20”) are much easier to transport, display, and store.

Once I learned that you need to approach a smaller surface with a whole different strategy to start with, I started to really enjoy working small. But- when I found out I’d have the opportunity to show work in the East Gallery I jumped at the chance to build larger supports and paint BIG again.

In my artist statement I talk about giving a different context to everyday subject matter; magnification seems to me like a natural way to achieve that. Also, I think a lot about the colors I use, and I think that saturated hues look really nuanced when applied in large fields; these larger supports really give the Ceruleans and Payne’s Grays and Quinacridone Burnt Oranges (my favorites) some depth, which I really enjoy.

Read more about Barron’s show and work here.  

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