Tag Archives: abstract art

Like it or not

This is a blog post about some recent experiences I have had receiving feedback from other artists about my work. In one case the feedback was negative and criticized me and my paintings, the other was overwhelmingly positive.

In both cases the feedback was unsolicited by me, although in the first case I had asked the artist a question about his experience in the art world, I did not, however, ask him to critique my work.

I did not know the first artist.

The second artist is someone I have known for about 6 years. I trust her and respect her as an artist and a person.

In the first case, the artist’s comments seemed inconsistent and I wondered if he even looked at my work before providing his unsolicited feedback.

In the second case, the artist congratulated me on the evolution of my art and complemented the professionalism of my work (her word, not mine).

Not everyone likes my work, and that’s fine, there’s lots of art that I don’t like too; I am not offended by people who don’t like my work. I am often curious about why and will often engage in a conversation about my art and what it is that they don’t like about it. Often it is too energetic or colourful or they want to “see” something in it, or they just don’t like abstract art—it’s not my paintings in particular, it’s a whole style of painting. And that’s okay, they’re allowed to like or not like things, that’s what makes this world a wonderful place: the diversity of thought and likes and dislikes.

I do think it’s important to keep an open mind when looking at other people’s artwork. If they are sharing it either publicly or privately, it is clearly something that is important to them, something they are passionate about, it is a story that they feel compelled to share in whatever way they are able to. I think you should show and interest in that, out of respect for the other person and their journey, and because you might learn something that informs your own thoughts and experiences (and creative practice, if you have one).

My paintings tell a story of personal growth and development, and have become more confident and complex as I have continued with my practice. To me they illustrate the complexity of life. Where they started out simply as an expression of joyful chaos, they now combine that joy and chaos with heartbreak and loss. Such is the nature of life.

Either that speaks to you or it doesn’t. In the case of the first artist, I would suggest that it didn’t, in the case of the second artist I would suggest that it did. Neither is right or wrong, that’s just the way it is, given their own individual life experiences.

Am I going to stop painting because someone doesn’t like my painting? No. I paint because I find it to be the best way to express things that I can’t put into words. I paint because I have to. I have stories to tell, that can only be told through my paintings.

I paint, therefore I am.

Passage through the Opposites: Stephanie Barnes’ Reconciliation Painting

The following essay was written about my art by an art critic who reviewed my work here in Berlin. The critic wishes to remain anonymous.

Whole.

I long to be heard.

Words and pictures; not words or pictures.

I long to be whole, not half.

My struggle is to be…

Whole. 

                        –Stephanie Barnes

In 2014, the year that Germany celebrated its 25th anniversary of reconciliation, Stephanie Barnes knew in a single instant that she was going to move to Berlin. In this AHA moment, she was united between her fated pathways of opposites, as a twin born under the sign of Gemini, seeking reconciliation in her art.

“In December, it was a feeling of being home, even though I was standing in a kitchen filled with someone else’s belongings, and only two suitcases of my own with me,” she recalls of her visit to Berlin, just a month after the reconciliation celebration. “The other moment, in February 2015, it was feeling homesick for Berlin after being away for 2 days, on a 16-day business trip.”

The artist being at home in a city representing division and reconciliation for the world comes with a feeling of wholeness and integration. Barnes sees a parallel between her emotions expressed in painting and that of the German nation. This inner/outer composition between her inner feeling of reconciliation and the external reconciliation in her new environment is a theme working its way through her art.

“In Germany and in Berlin, the reconciliation is between east/west, communism/capitalism, homogeneity/diversity–­the group versus the individual,” Barnes muses. “On the personal level, the reconciliation is between left and right brain, knowledge management and creativity, business and art, standing up for myself and belonging.”

For Barnes, the journey to integration extends from her birthright as a twin born under the Gemini sign of the Twins. “Who am I?” is the question she asks, and seeks to answer, with her painting. Her passage between the opposites as businesswoman and artist has led to the discovery of a language to access the energy built up from the tension of balancing life in the corporate world with her life in art.

Paradoxically, the process of working the image through this eternal question of identity has brought her into a rediscovery of words: “The integration and reconciliation of my logical business half and the creative, painting, artistic half is my own. I am not half a person, I am not only business/knowledge management/process; I am not only a creative/painter/artist. I am not half a twin. I am a whole in a set of twins.”

Yet, she sums up her passage of reconciliation through the opposites that is her birthright with a single word: JOY.

Do not buy my art

Do not by my art if:

  • you want it to match your sofa
  • you want it to match your carpet
  • you want it to match your room
  • you normally buy landscapes
  • you are looking for something in it: a bird, a flower, a tree, an animal; it’s not there

Buy my art because:

  • it moves you
  • it speaks to you
  • you are drawn to its colours
  • you are drawn to its energy
  • you are drawn to its power
  • you are drawn to its strength
  • you are swept away by emotion when you look at it
  • you can’t stop looking at it
  • the messages it conveys touch your heart

Do not buy my art because:

  • you think you should

Buy my art because:

  • you can’t live without it.

Stephanie Barnes: Passion, Process, Inspiration

I am over joyed to be able to share these new videos with you, I created them (with the help of Chockablock Media, Allyson is a friend) to help me share more about my motivations for the painting that I do.

There are three videos, passion, process, and inspiration.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed creating them!

(If you are in the Greater Toronto Area you can come out and meet me in person and see my art at Artscape Youngplace, details here http://www.stephaniebarnesart.com/art-2/september-26-27-art-show-and-sale/.)

September 26-27 Art Show and Sale

Just a quick post to let you know about my upcoming show and sale, September 26-27, 2015 at Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto. Noon until 5pm both days.

Come and meet Stephanie Barnes, artist at Artscape Youngplace. This will be her final show in Toronto before relocating to Berlin. See how her recent Berlin residencies have already impacted her painting process. Learn about her painting passions, processes, and inspirations.

 

Last Chance to See, Art show and sale

Last Chance to See, Art show and sale