As an artist, my materials and how I use them, are the essence of my art. I am always looking for new ways to apply the paint. Painting and drawing work in unison to form a complete and truthful painting. The act of painting is a personal journey to find out how I can more fully express my response to my surroundings. Subconsciously, I draw from nature and the world around me to record in a personal language what I see and feel through paint. A distinct palette emerges and my work conveys a strong sense of moment and place. Color is my primary form of expression, but I also rely on line, form, surface texture, pattern and collage.
Along with my paintings, I produce a series of works on paper which inspire and inform my paintings. There is a unique dialogue between the two forms, which is integral to the development of my entire body of work. I employ a variety of techniques in applying the paint such as dripping, rubbing, and scratching. The tools I use to paint can be as simple and immediate as my fingers and paper rags, which bring me in direct contact with my medium. I am ultimately concerned with my relationship to the painted surface.
In recent years, I have been concentrating on the potential of painting and drawing to go beyond the canvas. Through the medium of printmaking, I was introduced to the ancient Korean paper-manipulating technique of Joomchi, where an artist works layers of handmade paper while wet to form one sheet of paper. I roll the papers to bind the fibers together and open up the paper to create transparency. Additional fragments of paper lithographs are incorporated into the layers using a collage technique.
I approach Joomchi from a painterly background. My focus is on the potential of the paper to reveal the printed image underneath and provide visual interest through texture, lace and line. I’m drawn to the possibility of taking a traditional craft technique used to make clothing and functional objects and reinterpreting it into a contemporary art form.
Barbara Straussberg's acrylic paintings are included in numerous corporate, museum and private collections including: Biggs Museum of American Art, Fox Rothschild, and Brandywine Realty Company. She was recently awarded an artist Fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and a merit-based grant to attend a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Vermont. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Pennsylvania with a Distinction in Art History, and studied painting and printmaking at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her studio is located in the Norristown Arts Building, a vibrant collective of artists’ studios and galleries in the Philadelphia area.
1993 The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA Painting Major
1983 The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA BA, Distinction in Art History
1979 - 1980 Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Awards & Honors
2019 Artist Fellowship, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Amherst, VA
Biggs Museum of American Art, Permanent Collection Fox Rothschild, Wilmington Office Workplace Environment, Partners Office Brandywine Realty Corporation, Lobby SAP America Nicholson Associates, Board Room and Private Collections
2020 Pathways, URBN Headquarters Naval Yard, Philadelphia, PA