Textures of Life Series
To purchase Prime Prayer 5 24″ X 36″ on cradleboard contact: Julie Verville/Curator Ardest Gallery
Bio Contrary to the rule “Don’t touch the art,” experimental artist Barra Gustafson invites a tactile art experience with her “touch-ables.” Gustafson describes it as a coming together – “both artist and viewer are benefactors of Materials Science.” As a native Texan, Gustafson experienced early life as a student, business owner, and representative for an International Paint Company. On her life journey, she rediscovered her lost dream of art-making. She has won watercolor awards and has participated in over forty group juried shows– local, national, and international.
Seeking to understand the utility and scope of materials has been challenging to humans of all ages — stone, bronze, iron, and silicon age. These challenges have produced innovation and breakthroughs, from the discovery of fire in the prehistoric period to the current silicon cells in our modern time. While materials science developments evolved into metals, ceramics, and polymers and, in most recent years, into increasing focus on novel nanostructured materials that take inspiration from nature, her focus is on polymers, especially the colorless glue– acrylic polymers.
Building on one of the Seven Elements of Art, Gustafson uses physical texture to create visually active and passive multi-layers. The materials take on their own life and produce effects attributed to their properties. The viewer will come closer to connecting with the materials provided by Materials Science. I use a combination of gels, mediums, and an array of novel tools, a variety of methods, and techniques to create patterns.
By asking the what if “questions – like “what would happen if I did this” or “what if I added this” –Gustafson created Prayer Wheel #5, which contains a wheel over 90 + years old, numbers from upcycled license plates and wood, and hand made printed collage papers. Her inspirations come from the joy of experimentation, seeking discoveries by using various materials, and pressing forward with lifelong learning. Her art-making demonstrates that human curiosity keeps the creative wheel turning despite life’s complexities.
The complexity of the textures of life juxtaposed with its fragilities remind me how fragile life can be.
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I enjoy looking at your colorful paintings and site! p.s. I had a best friend growing up named Alice Gustafson…and my family is of Larson’s = scandanavians! Thanks for visiting my blog.
Thank you for the kind words. Awesome–go scandanavians! My husband’s hertiage is Sweden,and he has heard many times of the Larson name up in Iowa. I think the name Alice Gustafson has a nice ring to it–best friends are shared hearts forever.