BARBARA GARBER

Where does it come from I often wonder, the urge to make something.

Most of the time I don’t know. I start from this place of not knowing.

In the fall right before the first frost I went into the garden to rescue some fragile plants and was struck by a bunch of large Hosta leaves with their thick veins and wonderfully muted colors. I brought them into my studio and promptly forgot about them until, one day, there they were grabbing my attention again. I knew that I was drawn to their shapes and colors and the fact that they were familiar, but what I intended to do with them was unclear.

I spread out the leaves on a large piece of Mylar and sprayed the outline of each shape. Working on multiple sheets allows me the freedom of layering, cutting, shifting things from here to there, trying to keep the process fluid and open. My palette deepened with the changing light as fall turned to winter. The leaves had aged, become dark, brittle and curled around the edges, and were now caked with paint. Gradually, honing in, a sequence of collage/drawings began to emerge. As I worked, the shapes became ghostly images, strange evocative skeletons that had lost all reference to the leaves themselves surprising me with new associations: a series of winter Haiku.

The poet, Billy Collins, says: “I like to think of the haiku as a moment-smashing device out of which arise powerful moments of dazzling awareness. But I also like to think of it as something to do while walking the dog.” So do I. This time it was some leaves which ignited the spark. But it could have been mesh fencing from a building site, packing material, string, or an odd piece of paper, things found in a hardware store or on a walk. These are the things that catch my eye. I enjoy the transformation that happens as the process unfolds. Finally there is a time when these ordinary elements become something else and a moment of clarity arrives.

www.barbaragarber.com

CV