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I am originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, and moved to the United States in 1985. At a young age, the extreme politics of Apartheid created intense conflict in my thoughts. These incongruous feelings influence most of my art as I struggle to parse out a nation built on using religion, nationality, race, and ethnicity, to create both extreme unity and division. At some point I realized that in all political conflicts, art and music are proven to be ancient and timeless expressions and communication tools, both for the artist and also the audience. It is this realization that has prompted much of my need to make art and create tranquil spaces.


Spontaneous ideas, bubbling up from my cumulative past, good and bad, are the basis from which most of my art is created. Additionally, deadlines, parameters and materials on hand are also much of the impetus behind my work. My preference is to use unpredictable materials as this allows me to create imagery that is beyond what I intended. Basically, it forces me to step back from perfection and expectations - the great killer of creativity, and many other things in life. 


Using acrylic paint, and ink on a wood substrate, rather than canvas, is one of my favorite methods of working because applying media to uneven, hued and porous surfaces allows me to work with more freedom, and also allows my materials to create imagery that is beyond what I intended. Basically, it forces me to step back from control.

For me, working this way allows my process to remain loose and energized which creates a surprising and uncontrived end result. It all teaches me to stand in faith, that as long as we keep making marks with the conviction that the outcome will capture a moment in time; the energy of the space; a state of mind, and the impact of emotions; while making one's own unique compilations, the end result will always end up being representational of present time, which can never be recaptured.  


Each painting I make is an original and semi-permanent representation of the present, a true reflection of the past, and ultimately to be observed and reflected upon in the future. 

artwork by Barb White

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