Artist Barbara Able

An example of fine art by Barbara Able

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Able's new body of work, Transparent, is a series of paintings and collages that utilizes transparency in various ways. Her new collages were inspired by Robert Rauschenberg “combine” paintings. Rauschenberg created the term to describe works of art in which he “combined” various objects on the surface, creating a hybrid of painting and sculpture. The hybrid motifs that Able uses include photographic images, patterned papers, and fragments of watercolors. These are layered on the surface and then overlaid with transparent film containing additional images that reflect on the surface below. Able’s photographic images include portraits of Raschenberg and Marilyn Monroe, as well as characters painted by Vincent Van Gogh.
Able’s landscape and figurative paintings are created using transparent layers of color. She uses a wash technique that results in a semi-transparent, air-brushed background upon which she applies images with brushstrokes of rich color. The landscapes range in subject matter from the gardens of Versailles to Degas images seen at the Denver Art Museum to various Houston locales. Able’s figurative paintings depict Degas’s bronze scultures of ballerinas and reflections of museum attendees.
According to Able, Tranparent was also inspired by a childhood fascination with her grandmother's stereoscope. A stereoscope is a device created in the mid-twentieth century that allows simultaneous viewing of two photographs of the same scene taken at slightly different angles, creating the illusion of depth. Able, who was already painting and drawing at a young age, was fascinated by the mystery of a flat image being transformed into a three-dimensional one. Her recent collages and paintings emphasize depth and three-dimensionality.
This is Able’s third one-person show at Archway Gallery, where she has been a member since 2013. She has a B.F.A. in studio art from the University of Texas and has done post-graduate studies at Art League Houston and privately with nationally [...]

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