If you missed seeing the work of artist Barbara Maye during her exhibition at the Center 64 gallery in July, you still have a chance to admire her.
This summer, Barbara is presenting not one, but two art exhibitions in Kimberley. After a successful solo art exhibition at the Center 64 gallery where she filled the main gallery with her soapstone sculptures and paintings, Barbara’s journey continues with a brand new art exhibition at the Kimberley Art Gallery. “Second Chance – Journey to the Butterfly” will feature Barbara’s soapstone sculptures, as well as multimedia/multi-genre paintings and drawings inspired by the history of soapstone.
Inspired by Indigenous beliefs from around the world and the spiritual wisdom of healing energies in both our bodies and nature entities, Barbara’s works recognize origins; wood as tree, stone as mountain and body as spirit.
As a multimedia artist, sculptor and art teacher based in Revelstoke, BC, Barbara has devoted over 20 years to creating art that invites contact, interaction and introspection. By presenting close perspectives of figurative movement, pure abstraction and objects from nature, his method invites the passive observer to interact and identify with the art.
According to Barbara, soapstone is the result of a metamorphosis. “Like the transformation into a butterfly inside the chrysalis, soapstone undergoes a complete physical restructuring when the right environmental conditions are present. The resulting rock is colored only by the minerals present and the flow of molten experience. It understandably many honor soapstone for its healing properties associated with openness, flexibility, communication, imagination and change,” says Barbara.
By mimicking this rolling, melting formation, Barbara has created her innovative Flipstones, which are interactive sculptures that you are encouraged to pick up, examine closely, and “flip” into a new resting position. By changing the position of the Flipstones, you change the initial perspective for the next person and create an ever-changing exhibition of art.
“When I carve the stone, I am deeply aware of the release of energy stored in the stones over millennia,” says Barbara. “My style of freeform sculpting is a process of co-creating with stone, in which my role is to help stone take on a new form.
to express oneself. I see myself as a mere channel through which creative energy flows.
Barbara uses soapstone dust and rock chips from her sculpture studio to create rich textures in her paintings. This texture is found in his landscape paintings – which are memories of places visited in search of soapstone; his Lava Study paintings exploring the metamorphosis of stones; and in the paintings of the Emergence series, where she expresses the euphoria of post-transformation.
Immediately after earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors from the University of Calgary, Barbara studied with Chaka Chikodzi, a Zimbabwean-Canadian master stone carver. He taught her the way of carving of the Shona people; approach the rocks with respect and without expectations, then intuitively co-create the form. This sparked a passion for stone carving and the freeform style practiced by Barbara to this day.
Deeply influenced by the generous teachings of Noreen E. Saddleback of the Samson Cree Nation and Elder Bart Thomas of the Splatsin Band, Custodian and Knowledge Keeper of the Secwepemc First Nation, Barbara’s works respectfully explore nature to the arcane wisdom she holds.
It took 10 years to realize Barbara’s dream of harvesting stone straight from the earth to carve, but Mark McKay, a retired carver and prospector, took her on a mentorship in the mountains surrounding Revelstoke. Understanding the tectonics (earth processes) that form soapstone, locating and respectfully harvesting the rough stone and the rocks’ original locations all inform the process of creating Barbara’s abstract sculptures – some carved from Flipstones and rocks. others in the traditional pedestal style.
When asked what she loves most about creating art, Barbara replies, “I think what I love most about art are the gifts that are found in ‘happy accidents’. ‘. If we can stay open-minded during the creative process, a mistake can be a generous reward. This is how the Flipstones were born. I was cutting a big stone and at the very end it broke into 5 pieces. Yes, I was upset, but it taught me about stone fractures and the acceptance that stones were responsible. I later salvaged these pieces and transformed them into multi-position, interactive sculptures…and the concept of interaction and shifting perspective is the language of my work today.”
Barbara says the biggest challenge she faces when creating her art is her mind getting in the way. “I try to approach my work as a meditation, keeping my critical mind quiet. But overthinking and self-criticism are my enemies. The techniques I discover and practice to overcome this challenge are the methods I teach in my art classes.
As an art teacher, Barbara strives to make the language of art more accessible to everyone. She began teaching while in college and continues today as a freelance, online instructor of arts education classes primarily for adults in multiple media. Barbara’s teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that anyone with a fresh perspective can find their creative voice.
“I think my greatest pride as an artist comes from teaching; to see openness in a student as he recognizes his creative self; share what I’ve learned on my own creative journey; and the real friendships that developed from the classroom. said Beard. “I have many students who have continued classes with me for years just to continue their practice, and many who have gone on to exhibit and sell their work as much better artists than me. It’s so rewarding to be a small piece of their growth.
Barbara’s exhibit will be at the art gallery from August 3-27, 2022. The art gallery will participate in this year’s Columbia Basin Culture Tour on August 6-7. As part of this tour, Barbara will present a slide show on Abstract Art and she will set up artistic creation stations introducing visitors to: Drawing upside down; Appeal to our senses; Surrealist-inspired abstraction; and Fauvist-inspired abstraction. More information can be found at artgallerykimberley.com.