For her first solo show in Asia, mid-career American artist Frances Barth presents imaginary landscapes that are at once confounding and sublime. Her radically abstract paintings possess a startling graphic clarity and are made of lush combinations of unnamable colors—saturated blue-grays, fiery orange-reds, and pale yellow-greens—that don’t exist in nature.
Barth, who was a professor of painting, drawing and critical issues at Yale University from 1986 to 2004 where she influenced a generation of young, influential artists, has pushed her work into a realm between landscape, geological mapping and pure abstraction, she incorporates modeling, diagramming, mapping symbols and charting, creating a linear narrative, almost like a creation story, over a period of geological time. Layering expanses of color with cartographical lines rendered with hand-made stencils and engineering drafting pencils, Barth affords the viewer an aerial perspective one moment, and in another, intimate views of lengths of abstract color. Barth’s works demand that the viewer pause and consider the multiple perspectives. There is a powerful sense that these landscapes are moving, and are even in the process of becoming.
A director of the Mt. Royal School of Art, Maryland Institute, Barth has exhibited extensively across the United States. She was elected into the National Academy in 2011, and four of her works will be on view at the galleries of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York through April 2012.
Her paintings are included in prominent collections including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas. Her work is also included in private collections including those of Chase Manhattan Bank and IBM Corporation, New York. She is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts grants.