Artist Barbara Rogers uses botanical and ornamental forms to draw the viewer into her complex paintings. More of her artwork can be found on her website.
I want to remain vulnerable to beauty. I want to be stopped in my tracks by something I call beautiful that I have never noticed or seen before.
If your artwork is not readily identified as art that challenges the status quo or in support of social change, then you run the risk of being labeled the maker of beautiful and harmonious paintings. Some call beautiful, abstract painting mere decoration, as if decorative is a pejorative. Yet, every person, every culture, beautifies in its own way.
Even in the most modest settings, people look for ways to bring beauty to their surroundings, to create a sanctuary. Making something beautiful is a necessary act of ritual for many people in the world. This act, in and of itself, has function and meaning.
Through my paintings, I am reclaiming a space for beauty in the midst of everyday life. I seek to create a place of respite, reflection, and contemplation. Sometimes, we just need to recover by looking at something beautiful in silence, allowing us to think and feel.
Why do I employ ornamental forms and botanical shapes as reoccurring motifs in my paintings? These shapes embody paradisiacal notions, giving visible form to the cosmos, infinity, universal relationships, principles of order and natural laws. The arabesque is more than an ornamental motif. It is a structuring principal of universal validity and important to cultural history.
Ornamental shapes from other cultures and patterns enable me to find a variety of more interesting forms, ideas, and structures than I could dream up by myself. I look for ideas in nature that conform to the painting ideas I have developed from years of painting and teaching.
Still, I don’t place too much value on subject matter. My painting ideas come as much from art, travel and studying diverse cultures as from nature.
My paintings are abstract in the sense that they depart from representational accuracy. I often select and then exaggerate or simplify botanical forms that are suggested in the world around me, especially in my own garden in Arizona.
Every painting I begin makes its own demands. The wonder of this dialogue with paint, color, form and space is what keeps me excited about working.
My memories hold all that I have seen, heard and touched in this world. More time for travel and working in my own garden here in Tucson keep new ideas arriving constantly! All the colors, shapes and forms I have experienced are stored and ready to be drawn upon when I am working. When I paint, I am an explorer in the terrain of my own psyche, discovering what will emerge as the work develops.