Recollection exhibition at McLanahan Gallery, Penn State Altoona, 2018

I make small-scale, square, colorful paintings. My imagery is rooted in observation. I like to call attention to the commonplace and the local. There’s the external world—and then there’s me. My paintings are the intersection of the two. In that respect, they are intimate and personal; perhaps they’re narrative.

I choose to paint ordinary situations and particular places by manipulating color, shape, and composition in such a way that the possibility of multiple interpretations engages a viewer and invites close investigation.

The way I paint is driven by my interest in abstraction as economy of expression, and by my fascination with the dual role that color can play both as content and as structure in a painting. I use color to create space.
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My ongoing project—Recollection—is composed of sets of paintings made in various places; serially they’ve become an evolving visual record. I’ve completed 131 paintings to date, with the intent to grow the series into an aggregate composed of many more small-scale paintings that, when installed as a whole, assumes a monumental scale and, at the same time, invites intimate interaction.

“The works in the ‘Recollection’ series are untitled (except by number and place-name), and the associations that we might make with their origin offer us the pleasure of inventing titles of our own. Leaving that effort to the viewer, Barbara Marks signals her commitment to the independence of her paintings from a fixed interpretation—in favor of a continuum of meaning.”  —Rebecca Allan, [excerpt from Painting(s) from Recollection catalogue essay]

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Very recently I’ve been making woven compositions—aka potholders—using a metal loom and mass-produced cotton loops. I like working with limitations—the “stock” colors of the loops … and with math—how many unique colors … quantity of loops per color … the number of hooks on a loom’s axes (18 or 27) … And I like thinking in 3s, 5s, 6s, 7s, 9s, and so on. It becomes an obsession.

My drawings inform my paintings inform my drawings inform my weavings. Color is the nexus.