Barbara Maye Fine Art
"I was first introduced to art as therapy while dealing with some troubles in my life. It was there I realized I could express myself in a language that didn't hurt anyone else or me. When I sold one of the very first things I ever made, that sale made me realize someone else could be touched by what I create or what I say because art is a language. That was the beginning."
During these early years, Barbara's unique splatter style of painting was featured in a newspaper article that would impact her growth as an artist. "Someone said something about Jackson Pollack and I didn't know who that was. This made me realize I didn't know enough about art to really be in it, so I enrolled in the fine arts program at Colorado University in Denver before transferring to the University of Calgary. I learned that I liked drawing, that I like sculpture, that I liked painting—I liked all of it—so I graduated as a multi-media artist with a degree in Fine Arts in 2007."
After graduation, Barbara found more inspiration during an intensive five day workshop by Chaka Chikodzi, a Zimbabwean-Canadian stone sculptor, who introduced the philosophy of how the Shona people of Southern Africa carve: "You approach the stone with no intention and co-create," explains Barbara, "this is how I learned to create with stone and it's how I've been doing it ever since."
With new focus and conviction, Barbara set her sights on British Columbia to take advantage of the natural abundance of soapstone found in B.C.'s interior. Moving to Nakusp then commuting to teach art classes in Revelstoke, Barbara would meet and fall in love with local artist and handyman Geordie Knoess, and the two would begin a most idyllic life together in Revelstoke. "The vegetable gardens are how we sustain ourselves during the winter," explains Barbara, "with frozen and preserved foods grown from the rich earth right here in our yard." This beautiful property is often host to the Columbia Basin Culture Tour to showcases her soapstone creations and acrylic paintings.
With funding support, Barbara was recently able to focus on a large new collection she calls, Journey to the Butterfly. “As research, I learned about prospecting and the geology surrounding Revelstoke.” Then she got to work on a new series of 'flip stone' carvings made from locally sourced soapstone. As Barbara explains, "Flip stones are sculptures people can interact with. They can touch it, pick it up, examine it, and return it to a different resting position; flip it over into another sculpture essentially Then the condition and position you leave it in becomes the first experience for the next person. It’s an interesting type of interplay."
Along with the new stones, a new series of paintings developed. Mentally revisiting the mountain roads that were travelled while learning prospecting, she painted a series of landscape memories of the breathtaking journey. “Those back roads were spectacular, so I included stone carving dust on the roads in the paintings just to commemorate. It was fun because I have never painted landscapes before.”