"I am not much interested in topography - the history of the landscape and the people that shaped it are the attraction."– Barbara Rae
Barbara Rae is a highly acclaimed master printmaker and painter recognised and lauded worldwide. She journeys to remote areas for inspiration, such as the west coast of Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and the Southwest of America, most recently the Arctic north of Hudson's Bay. A large part of her practice is researching the history behind the locations she studies, the geography, but above all, the local history. She records time passing.
The intensity of colour chosen to interpret what she sees creates work generally semi-abstract or wholly abstract without losing familiar signposts in the location under study. Her work is intuitive, fearlessly creative, and based on both written and observed knowledge. She eschews perfection and welcomes dissonance. For those reasons, Rae is respected internationally as a great colourist, for her innovative techniques, and for her ability to convey images with simple brush strokes. ul abstractions. Often travelling in search of inspiration, particularly along the west coast of Scotland, Ireland, Spain, and most recently the Arctic, Rae creates works that engage with the wild and wonderful landscapes she immerses herself in.
A large part of her practice is considering and researching the history behind the landscapes she studies and her interests lie in maps, geography, and local history. The intense bursts of colour that so often characterize her work evoke dramatic scenic landscapes, but all the while remain brilliantly and resolutely abstract.
Rae approaches her practice in two stages; the initial research stage involving developing a historical and geographical understanding of a place - whether a landscape, an industrial location, an interior, or an object that fascinates her – followed by a studio-based adaptation and development of the information. At this stage the work is intuitive, creative, and based on both written and observed knowledge. The result: compositions of rich colour palettes and socio-economic and historical significance, often admired for the artist’s ability to convey an image in a single fluid brush stroke.
Back in her studio in Edinburgh, Rae works from sketches not photographs, sometimes for edition prints, some for monoprints. A print can often see 30 to 50 or more layers of inks before she is satisfied with the outcome. The result is always filled with her love of for the spirit of a place.