Barbara Hart

I am a multi-media artist with a focus on figurative works.  I work in wood, painting, drawing, and fiber, among other things.  My current focus is portraiture and wooden sculpture.  

In 2006 I opened Studio Hart gallery in Buffalo, New York.  Initially a contemporary photography gallery, we quickly branched out to feature artists of all media and career depth.  We mounted approximately 11 shows each year.  Studio Hart was a great experience, and my interactions with the artists stoked my fire to return to the studio.  In May, 2017, I closed the doors for the last time, stepping from one wonderful life into another.  The change has been exciting, confusing, challenging and full of enriching experiences. 

My primary interest is exploring the unique circumstances of our lives.  I am particularly interested in looking past the public face we wear, discovering the person behind that mask, what differentiates us from one another and where we are the same.  I’ve done several projects that focus on bringing the individual out of some sort of restrictive form beginning with the Little Wood People peg dolls and my recent larger figure wood carvings.

Sometimes the “mask” is compounded by a restriction of form or societal framework. This is particularly true in mugshots.  These strike me as very strange portraits: mandatory, taken at one of the worst moments of the subjects’ life, the image is frontal, direct, and revelatory.  

When I work with figures and portraiture, my focus is always the eyes.  The goal is always to reach the point where I suddenly see my subject as a person looking back at me, where something human is revealed.  

My still-life painting works to reveal the individual through objects, through sort of trace or circumstantial evidence, a story developing.  This is the beginning of that journey, one which is fueled by memory and dreams.  I look forward to seeing where it takes me.