Featured Artist Barbara Liss

Artist Barbara Liss creates concrete sculptures of expressive faces that relate to the human condition. Find more of her work by visiting her website.

 

Concrete sculpture of a Native American in regalia

“Bountiful Blessings” (from the Earth Series), concrete, 22″ x 15″ x 8″

 

Creating my sculptures with concrete was an obvious choice for me. It was a medium I was already familiar with, as I used it as mortar for rock walls. I knew it would be durable for art in the outside environment.

 

concrete sculpture portrait of a woman with a head covering by Barbara Liss

“A Formal Affair” concrete and found objects, 13″ x 17″ x 5″

 

Concrete is a very organic medium and I enjoy incorporating other elements into it. These elements are often the inspiration behind what the piece will look like.

 

concrete portrait sculpture of a person carrying firewood on their head by Barbara Liss

“Bitterroot River Drifted Roots” (from Precious Firewood series) concrete, wood, paint and mixed media, 32″ x 26″ x 12″

 

When not creating I am exploring; while exploring, I find items to include in my sculptures. In my Precious Firewood series, the sculptures are carrying wood on their heads. They feature all different types of wood I have collected in the mountains and from the river bottom. I have painted designs on some of the wood.

 

Concrete sculpting in progress

Concrete sculpting in progress by artist Barbara Liss

 

My sculptures with feathers are not meant to be displayed outside as the feathers don’t hold up as well. But I find it irresistible to combine the lightest and heaviest of mediums.

 

concrete sculpture portrait of a man with an emu feather collar by Barbara Liss

“Emerging” concrete with emu feathers. 14″ x 17″ x 6″

 

I have to work fast, sculpting while the medium is wet. When complete, I cover it and slow cure it for thirty days to make it stronger.

 

concrete sculpture portrait of a man with branches growing out of his head by Barbara Liss

“Munching in the Garden” concrete and branches, 22″ x 26″ x 15″

 

In most of my sculptures, I often express a single thought. This may be about concrete things like snow and fishing, or emotions such as shyness, tiredness, confusion and more. If it is not immediately clear what the thought was behind my sculpture, the name will tell you. My art has now evolved into series that express more than one thought. In this way, I am able to tell a story.

 

concrete sculpture portrait of a man with an antique bell by Barbara Liss

“Ringing in the Century” (Ringing In 2020 series) concrete and antique bell, 15″ x 19″ x 7″

 

In the Ringing In 2020 series, I incorporated antique bells that I have been collecting. This series celebrates the century, the decade and the year.

 

concrete sculpture with turkey feathers in progress by Barbara Liss

Concrete sculpture with turkey feathers on the sculpting table

 

I created my four-piece Pandemic series because of what I was hearing and seeing every day in the media. One piece immediately followed the next. Self-isolation was happening, and I turned it into a three-dimensional description of what “isolation” was. “Corona” was being shown colorized microscopically, so it became incorporated in a sculpture depicting those features. “COVID-19,” the worst strain of the Coronavirus, I depicted with steampunk features. I then created the last, more humanized piece which showed how people were reacting to the pandemic—creating face masks and washing hands for “Protection.”

 

artist Barbara Liss sculpting "Corona"

Artist Barbara Liss sculpting “Corona”

 

The next series was Healing and Rebirth, as a response to the illness and economic impact experienced by so many. More importantly, we now need it for the social healing of our country. The snakes in the pieces represent the wisdom we need for healing and rebirth.

 

concrete sculpture portrait by healing and rebirth by Barbara Liss

“Guardian” (From Healing and Rebirth series) concrete, 13″ x 19″ x 7″

 

Communicating through art is quieter, so it can be heard more clearly.

 

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

 

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