COLBORNE – Barbara Buntin’s trip to the Yukon late last autumn informed the art works for an upcoming feature exhibition at the Colborne Art Gallery entitled, “Off the Map”. The title refers to both geography and process.
Buntin says of her work, “I seek to create resonance with the viewer through images of the human figure, blending elements of the surrounding landscape for a transformative effect.” She often represents the figure with a reference to the landscape we pass through. So, when Barbara received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council National and International Residency Programme that allowed her seven weeks to breathe the arctic air, she jumped at the prospect for change in the work. She intentionally chose a time that provided an opportunity to take in the change of season from fall to winter.
Through her art Buntin attempts to describe a connection to the earth; to work from an experience rather than from observation. She has been inspired by a particular line from Rumi, “When the ocean surges, don't let me just hear it. Let it splash inside my chest!” and was interested to explore such an effect from this new landscape that took her out of familiar territory.
In Barbara's words “I continue to portray the human figure but I'm striving for a simpler, bolder and increasingly elemental style. The Yukon landscape may not be immediately visible to others in these figures, but I can see the influence emerging. There are references to the arc of the ever present hills and mountains, the low rising sun over a deep cold layer of snow, the continuous flow of the river and an intense silence and solitude. I hope to infuse my figures with the permanence and reassurance of the natural world.”
Barbara works with layered monoprint and collage techniques, produced largely on Japanese washi papers and her own printed work. She nearly always depicts the human figure. She expected that spaciousness in the pieces might be a likely expression of her northern retreat time, but also discovered other surprising and diverse paths.
“off the map” opens at the Colborne Art Gallery October 5 and continues through November 10, along with works by other gallery artists. There is an opening reception from 2-4pm with the artists present. All are welcome to attend.
Submitted by By Annie McDonald