Barbara Rae. Return Journey

1 Aug 2016 – 31 Aug 2016

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Internationally acclaimed artist and printmaker, Barbara Rae, presents an extraordinary collection, part-retrospective, part contemporary; a record of time passing, an intimate study of human habitation by ancient and modern societies that live off and work on the land.


The collection encompasses the entire gallery and embraces mixed media works, paintings, drawings, and prints. Rae is not interested in topography, but in the history of the land, whether agricultural or industrial, and the memories it holds. These interests are the focal motivation for Rae's extensive travel to distant places, an inspiration ever since her student days attending Edinburgh's School of Art. Artefacts of earliest societies, hamlets and houses, industrial objects, and farm lands created for subsistence weathered and worn by time are a predominant subject matter.

The selection of images issues from locations worldwide, yet Rae finds herself particularly drawn back to west coast of Ireland, and to the Highlands of her homeland, Scotland, and villages in Andalucía, Spain. Rae’s main creative principles lie with originality of conception, a singular interpretation of subject matter, sometimes semi-abstract, more often abstract. Her understanding of colour and its effect on the senses is second-to-none. All things combined provide us with an intensely poetic, patchwork visual style conveying the ruggedness of life’s daily struggle.

Also on display are her images of the figure, still life, and compositional interpretations of rural communities, a strong painterly voice almost fully formed from early schooldays. Rae believes wholeheartedly in mastering drawing before venturing into abstraction, an essential path evident in the exhibition. Her signature methods of mark making, layering, and stripping back, are the result of an intuitive analysis of natural forms, and man-made imprints, and of course, decades of experiment.

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Barbara Rae

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