IN THE STUDIO
Barbara Syburg embraces change. After being a part of the first group of women to graduate with a Bachelor Of Fine Arts Degree from Notre Dame University, Barbara embarked on a life filled with creativity and cross country moves. Most recently, in 2017, Barbara traded the red rock landscapes of New Mexico for the blue ridged horizons of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina. When Barbara first began contemplating relocation, her creative life began to transition. Decades spent as a fiber artist expanded to include life as a sculpted gourd artist and painter.
Barbara's passion for color and pattern lead her to an exploration of quilting in the early 1980’s. As she translated design ideas and drawings to fabric, Barbara found herself breaking away traditional quilt work and she began creating bold geometric quilted images. For over a decade she exhibited quilted creations like the one displayed above her shoulder in the first picture above. Over time her art quilts transitioned into wall pieces made from fabric, minus the quilting. These images, presented as fiber paintings, were inspired by scenes from the Southwest, and drawn from iconic photographs in the Library of Congress. Recently, Barbara has begun creating small whimsical art quilts that feature free form applique work, done with hand dyed and found materials, paired with hand embroidery.
When she is creating her fine art gourds, Barbara sees the surface as a blank three dimensional canvas. After considering the shape, thickness and texture of a gourd, she begins transforming it via carving and wood burning techniques. Barbara loves the physical transformation of her 3-D canvas and refers to this part of her studio time as ‘Fun with power tools!’. She often builds on the altered surface of the gourd by developing intricate imagery with ink dyes and transparent acrylic paints. These images evolve from the studies she executes in paint. Barbara lets the gourds "speak" to her, and each three dimensional painting is a unique dialogue with the voices of nature and time that have already left their mark on the gourd.
Barbara's use of drawing to explore ideas has been the lifelong foundation of her creative process. Barbara pulls her inspiration from the endless abundance of nature, and her studio is set up so that she can draw and paint while taking in a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fine point pens, colored pencils, and acrylics are used to develop designs that guide her fiber work and sculptural gourds. Recently Barbara has been exploring watercolors, and she is now developing a series of bold and colorful abstracted landscape paintings.
Barbara's fine art paintings, sculptural gourds and fiber art quilts are a celebration of color, pattern and fine craftsmanship. Each one-of-a-kind piece has a tangible presence that asks to be picked up, explored, and appreciated. You can view and purchase Barbara’s artwork in Black Mountain, North Carolina at THE RED HOUSE GALLERY, and next door at THE MONTE VISTA ~ Lobby Gallery.