Joan Barber

current works  |  artist statement & biography  |  archive  |  notify me of new works

Provocative, evocative, innocent, guilty, dressed or half-dressed, Joan Barber’s characters continually provide an abstract narrative that draws the viewer into the fabric of each painting.

Be sure to view Joan's archive page.

Joan Barber


"I admit to a perverseness in drawing up members of my own sex compromised by antic attire and thrust into exotic, seductive, or problematic circumstances where their naivet'e strands them."


BORN 1941 - Oregon, USA

Joan Barber was born in 1941 in Oregon. She received a full scholarship and graduated from the Museum Art School in Portland, Oregon in 1963. She has studied with Louie Bunce, Michael Russo, George Johanson. She has exhibited in California, Virginia, Massachusetts, New York and Santa Fe.

Barber enjoys a national reputation for her figurative work but also paints compelling landscapes and abstracts. Using oil paint on linen, her strongly drawn figures are narrative in nature and stretched taut into richly patterned environments. Her figurative characters, frequently young women dressed or half-dressed in amusing outfits, are derived from imagined memory thus leaving everything to invention - including facial language, as important to Barber as body language.

Whether eating a cupcake or reclining on the back of a blue zebra, Barber's women are cast as vulnerable but gritty exotics whose chief asset in coping with life is their tenacity.

Joan works carefully and slowly with her paint. After laying out a composition in charcoal she starts with the face proceeding to the figure only after defining that elusive expression which clearly communicates its own emotion.

1963 Museum Art School, Portland, OR

solo exhibitions
2008 Flomenhaft Gallery; NYC, NY
2005 Ferrin Gallery; Lenox, MA
2005 Selby Fleetwood Gallery; Santa Fe, NM
2004 Amerger & Yohe Fine Art, Boca Raton, FL
2004 Ferrin Gallery; Lenox, MA
2001 Deloney Newkirk Gallery; Santa Fe, NM
2001 Ute Stebich Gallery; Lenox, MA
2000 Deloney Newkirk Gallery; Santa Fe, NM
1999 Deloney Newkirk Gallery; Santa Fe, NM
1998 Ute Stebich Gallery; Lenox, MA
1997 Ute Stebich Gallery; Lenox, MA
1995 Hanna Gallery; Stockbridge, MA
1995 Walker-Kornbluth Gallery; Fairlawn, NJ
1994 Hanna Gallery; Stockbridge, MA
1993 Hanna Gallery; Stockbridge, MA

group exhibitions
2005-2008 Selby Fleetwood Gallery; Santa Fe, NM
2004 Erlich Gallery; Marblehead, MA
1996 Hoorn-Ashby Gallery; New York, NY, and Nantucket Island, MA
1995 Blackburn and Yates Gallery; Frenchtown, NJ

Art News, Summer 2009
American Art Collector, image of "Girl in Yellow Room," December 2007
Carnival Freedom, Carnival Cruise Line hardcover coffee table book:
   "The Art of Cruising" images of murals created aboard the ship 2006
American Art Collector, "Collectible Art Still on the Easel," 4pg article with color images, Spring 2006
The New Mexican, Pasatiempo:
   "Dressed to Thrill" by JoAnn Baldinger June 25, 2004
   "Barber Returns to Roots" by Aubrey Sandoval, April 6, 2001
The Advocate, Review "The State of the Arts" by Ralph Lieberman, June 3, 2003
Focus / Santa Fe:
   "Early Summer Morning" by Suzanne Deats, June / July 2000
   "The Telling Gesture" by Suzanne Deats, June / July 1999
Art News, color image of "Blue Bodies," May 2000
The Santa Fe Reporter:
   "On Cavas and Paper..." June 21, 2000
   "The Face Undressed" by Dennis Jarrett, June 1999
Newtown Bee, "Fine Art & Photography Show" February 12, 1999
"A Bit of Aloneness: Joan Barber's Woman" published essay by Barbara O'Brien

Carnival Cruise Lines
Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
Hancick Shaker Museum, Pittsfield, MA
JMW Consultants Inc, Stanford, CT
Iredale Mineral Cosmetics Ltd, Great Barrington, MA
Peabody & Arnold LLP, Boston, MA
Enid Zuckerman, Canyon Ranch, Lenox, MA & Tucson, AZ
Carol Gilligan, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Offices of the World Bank in Manila

And numerous private collections here and abroad.