I’m a Baby Boomer recreating myself daily by working my authentic passion to make art. My road to artistic freedom has been a winding one: After earning a B.A. in Commercial Art, and a decades-long corporate career, I left my 9-5 almost 4 years ago. I replaced the office with my studio at Clearwater Artist Studios in Concord, NC http://www.clearwaterartists.com/, and I’m happily exploring my practice full time.
I’ve resided in Charlotte, NC for 14 years. However, my roots stem from five generations of native New Yorkers on my mother’s side. Harlem was home. Our family was steeped in the rich Jazz and African-American cultural traditions of that city. My great-grandfather was a jazz pianist and composer, and owned a popular Harlem night club during the 1940s. Jazz not only significantly influenced the African American New York community. Collectively, progressive artists such as The New School of abstract expressionists were inspired by it. This movement emerged during the 1940s and became a major force by the 1950s. This was the energy that in many ways shaped me during my formative years through the 1960s.
Two years into my full-time practice, my journey led me to the revelation that my artistic voice is rooted in Abstract Expressionism. I feel perfectly grounded when working this amazing process that channels emotional states. I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I was assigned to do.
Inspired either by preconceived concepts or raw impulse, I begin by making random marks on the canvas. As the composition develops, I make adjustments to areas that make me uncomfortable. The process is repeated layer by layer as I respond with free-sweeping gestures that emanate from Spirit. This unusual painting method is direct. It essentially channels spiritual, subconscious and emotional memory into visual form. Oftentimes, creating a pleasing composition requires turning chaos into order using both additive and subtractive methods. The process is both healing and freeing as I work with oil, or various forms of acrylic paint, art crayons and sometimes tissue on canvas or fabric. The result IS the experience itself. I am always surprised by the images that demand (and succeed) to be expressed! As I continue to expand through this introspective work, my hope is that the work motivates contemplation, conversation, and perhaps - personal growth.
I’ve studied at F.I.T. (New York City), The School of Visual Arts (New York City), Central Piedmont Community College (Charlotte, NC) - and independently with Louise Farley, Lee Baumgarten, Walter Stanford, and Steve Aimone.
· Elder Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2018; “The Fine Art of
· Cabarrus Arts Council, 2018; “Sometimes”
· Artfields 2017; Juried artist
· Clearwater Artist Studios, 2015; “H20 Flow”
· Civic and Cultural Arts Center, 2013; “Beyond the Curve”
· Clearwater Artist Studios, 2017; “Abstracting Spirit: A New
· The Art House (Charlotte, NC); 2010
Billboard Artist: Charlotte ArtPop 2016 (calendar year)
· Art278; October 2016 issue
· Podcast: How to Be An Artist 2017; https://www.buzzsprout.com/107511/565533-episode-3-barbara-ellis-charlotte-nc