Featured Artist Barbara Burns

Instilled with a love of creating at an early age, artist Barbara Burns weaves expressive and contemporary tapestries. Learn more about her work by visiting her website.

 

Artist Barbara Burns at work on a tapestry. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

Artist Barbara Burns at work on a tapestry

 

I am a figurative artist. My medium, handwoven tapestry, is one of the earliest art forms dating back to about 3000 BC. Historically, European tapestry was used to “speak” to the illiterate, who “read” the symbolism of the pictorial stories.

 

"Homage to Anne Frank" Tapestry, 54" x 27.5" by artist Barbara Burns. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Homage to Anne Frank” Tapestry, 54″ x 27.5″

 

My work tells stories as well. Every element I use, including fiber and color choices, depict a message for the viewer. The dichotomy of using the ancient medium of tapestry to express contemporary subjects is a powerful and satisfying tool.

 

"Leigh" Tapestry, 13" x 28" by artist Barbara Burns. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Leigh” Tapestry, 13″ x 28″

 

I have been working with textiles for as long as I can remember. My Russian grandmother taught me to sew at an early age. She instilled in me a love of creating with my hands and an appreciation for good cloth. Tapestry weaving allows me to construct an image, integral with the cloth, exhibiting a depth of color and texture I feel I can achieve no other way.

 

"Little Spinner Girl" Tapestry, 13" x 13" by artist Barbara Burns. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Little Spinner Girl” Tapestry, 13″ x 13″

 

The tactile experience of working with fiber, along with the richness of the woven surface, excites and drives me as I watch images emerge while I weave.

 

"Temptation" Tapestry, 40" x 45" by artist Barbara Burns. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Temptation” Tapestry, 40″ x 45″

 

I grew up surrounded by my mother’s collection of tribal masks and sculpture. I loved that each one was expressive, mysterious and primal. This led me to my fascination with faces and figures.

 

"Blue Frida II" Tapestry, 10" x 20" by artist Barbara Burns. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Blue Frida II” Tapestry, 10″ x 20″

 

My earliest tapestries expressed my fascination with the human face. I would choose a subject such as Frida Kahlo. I read about her as I designed and wove “Blue Frida I” and “Blue Frida II.” I have found that my reading influences my work. In the Blue Fridas that influence shows in the color and cropping of the pieces.

 

"Amandaconda" Tapestry, 31" x 50" by artist Barbara Burns. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Amandaconda” Tapestry, 31″ x 50″

 

As my work has progressed, more of the figure has come into view. This is most evident in my Burlesque series which explores the sensual, female form from my perspective as a performing burlesque and belly dancer. It also exemplifies the parallels between exposing myself as a dancer vs. as an artist.

 

"Ingrid. Belly Dancer in Repose" Tapestry, 26" x 40" by artist Barbara Burns. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Ingrid. Belly Dancer in Repose” Tapestry, 26″ x 40″

 

Combining my passion for dance with my love of tapestry, I am creating a series intended to challenge the observer with complex, and often contradictory, societal views of women. Some of these portraits are larger than life to heighten the emotion and drama, as in “Amandaconda” and “Pas de Deux.”

 

"Don't Mess with Dr. D'Lite" Tapestry, 17" x 39" by artist Barbara Burns. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Don’t Mess with Dr. D’Lite” Tapestry, 17″ x 39″

 

My work begins with one of my drawings or photographs taken during dance performances. Through sampling and experience I decide on techniques, palette, materials and warp spacing. Finally, I can go to the loom and wind my warp to weave. Weaving is a slow art, and once completed, there is off loom finishing to do.

 

"Pas de Deux" Tapestry, 40" x 24" by artist Barbara Burns. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Pas de Deux” Tapestry, 40″ x 24″

 

Learning tapestry weaving is an ongoing pursuit which for me has included ten years of mentoring with two internationally renowned tapestry experts, Archie Brennan and Susan Martin-Maffei in New York. I have studied with numerous other tapestry artists including a course at West Dean College in England.

 

Artist Barbara Burns. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

Artist Barbara Burns

 

My choices of subject are often influenced by what I learned from my mother. She was a gutsy, individualistic and progressive woman for her time. I’m proud to follow in her footsteps.

 

Artist Barbara Burns invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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YES PLEASE!

Comments

  1. Love your work, thanks for sharing!

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