Barb's notes about the Ambi Collections:
The Ambi Collections of work grew organically from my Buddha-like Collections, and have evolved into a hybrid my interest in pacifism and eastern culture, as well as my heritage, being an immigrant from South Africa.
These paintings of faces that are ambiguous in their origins, found their genesis in the Buddha Collection I had created, pre-Covid.
Truth be told, I was handed chalk to draw on the art wall of my favorite local third living room, The Downtown Public House, and I just started to draw a Buddha like face, which then became a mixture of Eastern and African cultural looks. The bar tender, an uber talented artist then asked me if I minded if he added his touch to the chalk drawings, which he did. It was a fun and amazing collaboration born of impulse and spontaneity. We drew large ( about 10 ft high and 20 feet wide). Then the Corona virus hit... the color went out of things. Or was dampened.
The negativity of 2020 and Covid-19 caused the worldwide lockdown, preventing a planned trip to South Africa. So I did what artist do. Turned all the angst and sadness and isolation into productivity.
The subsequent feelings of sadness, isolation homesickness left a cloud over each day. Without realizing what was taking place, my previous paintings - featuring loosely gestural buddhas - continued to evolve into images of faces which expressed deep longing for my homeland, especially the people and magical energy that is Africa - specifically South Africa, the Cradle of Mankind.
The feeling of helplessness at not being able to do more for all those suffering around the globe, which was compounded by the loss of life, the illness of loved ones (including my mother) and the senseless killings which caused the BLM protests, I found my paintings reflecting a dichotomous mixture of all these feelings.
This is also a time of re-shaping old habits, a lifetime of conditioning and pre-conceptive thinking. I see it as an opportunity to be okay with expressing feelings by creating work that is more about one's imperceptable emotions, which in turn, create ambiguous art to be perceived by each viewer in their own unique way.