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Indepth Arts News:

"New Paintings: Barbara Rae Ra"
2005-04-26 until 2005-05-18
Adam Gallery
London, , UK United Kingdom

Adam Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Barbara Rae. The dates will be in London: Private View - Tuesday, 26 April  from 6:30 –8:30pm at 24 Cork Street, London W1. Then continuing through 28 April in Bath: 30 April - 18 May at 13 John Street, Bath BA1. Barbara Rae is such an artist, a supreme colorist, at the peak of her powers, one in a long line of eminent Scottish artists, like Sir William Gillies, under whom she studied. It comes as no surprise to learn she also admires Graham Sutherland and Henri Matisse.

Following is the essay from the catalogue:

" Taste; we are not born with it. It has to be acquired in the same way we learn grammar to improve creative writing. If we feel uncertain about judging a work of art, or the utilitarian design of a car or chair, the fault is not ours. It lies in our education, or the lack of it. Our schools rarely teach an understanding of the visual arts. That is why we see folk dithering at the B&Q paint shelves, desperately trying to match a shade of paint with a swatch of carpet colour. Great artists know the rules, how one colour affects another; good proportion, volume and intensity are second nature to them. It follows that great artists know how to break the rules. They revel in experiment. That way lays originality.

"Though a large number of her works are panoramic in composition, she dislikes the label “landscape artist.” It conjures up images of a picturesque windblown lonesome pine in pristine marshlands under fluffy clouds, every blade of grass drawn individually and painstakingly. Her interest is in aspects of the land altered by the hand of mankind: fields tilled generations; ramshackle buildings once home to family and fowl; terraced hillsides that nourished wheat and corn, and vineyards too; rickles of dry stone enclosure walls intruded by stiff telegraph poles – even the detritus of daily toil, everywhere working folk place their hand in the soil and leave their mark. Her subjects need not be vast; some are intimate studies of partial elements, such as a care-worn weathered wooden gate next to an abandoned cart, or a sway of withered sunflowers.

"It is her mature, highly developed eye for detail, form and colour that marks her out from the crowd. But innovation and years of practiced technique are not guarantee of great work. Harmony comes from the gift few artists are given: the ability to see what others do not, and by adept choice and careful exclusion, achieve harmony, sensuality and beauty from nature’s raw elements, to offer us a new way of seeing.

"To sustain that insight Barbara Rae seeks out inspiration in remote places: the sun-seared deserts of Arizona, mountain villages of Andalusia, Spain, and in this exhibition, the rolling countryside west of Ireland, in February’s bone-chilling winds when the light is seductive. But then, all of the best artists have that drive, that imperative. As for the rest of us, well, we get to admire, to own and to cherish work of the highest order. In that way we demonstrate our … taste ".

Gareth Wardell, 2005.

Barbara Rae Ra
Portnahally Bay
Mixed Media
9.75" x 9.5"

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