Barb Renfrow-Baker


Untitled, paint, collage, printing with handmade stamp, image transfer, encaustic mediumI have always loved art but only got serious about making art in the summer of 2000. I started with one collage class and was hooked! I love working with collage and mixed media, and last summer I tried encaustic (hot wax) painting/collaging for the first time.

I am curious about how humans interpret and respond to the world around them and how they express their understandings in various modalities. I am interested in the myriad ways storytelling is woven into the fabric of our lives. I adore the magical ability of poetry to describe a place or emotion with an unexpected metaphor and how a novel develops characters and settings I will never personally know. I admire the fastidious handwork and geometry that tell a story in a quilt and the way this form has evolved in the last few decades from purely functional to highly expressive art. I love the ability of photography to capture but a moment of a particular story somewhere on the planet. To me, my work with collage and mixed media unites these interests and creates a new kind of story: my own story.

The visual arts that influence me are varied. I am awed by the marks on the caves of Lascaux as well as by the subtle emotions in the genre paintings of Degas. I am inspired by the experimentation and sheer audacity of 20th Century masters of collage such as Braque, Picasso, Rauschenberg, Cornell, Bearden, and Lawrence. I am also particularly inspired by the “natural collages,” if you will, of Andy Goldsworthy. I appreciate his measured intention to organize the natural world in new and astonishing ways as well as his ability to let his work go—often literally as it floats down a stream or falls off a tree. I am also guided and inspired by my 21st Century teachers: Michael Cepress (whose ability to talk about art truly moves me); Linda Berkley (who guides my sense of composition); Sarah Wolf Newlands (whose enthusiasm pushes me to risk); Deborah Lawrence (who models a sense of purpose in her work); and Rebecca Wild (who taught me the importance of including my own hand in my work). The myriad of today’s mixed media artists continues to make me think, wonder, and laugh, and I can only hope someday my work could evoke the same in others.

Feel free to contact me at barbrbcollage@comcast.net

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