Barbara Rae

ISBN: 9780853319900
Artist(s): Barbara Rae
Author(s): Bill Hare, Andrew Lambirth & Gareth Wardell
Format: hardback
Year published: 2008
Publisher: Lund Humphries
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 192
Illustrations: 200 colour and 20 b&w

Artist(s) Biographies:

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This is the first fully illustrated monograph of Barbara Rae’s career to date. One of Britain’s outstanding contemporary painters, Rae is a Royal Academician and the recipient of numerous awards including two doctorates and Commander of the British Empire (CBE). Known for their use of bright and contrasting colour, Rae’s paintings combine the influence of landscape and travel with painterly abstraction. Many of her paintings can be found in public collections, including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; the Whitworth, Manchester; Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington.

Educated at Edinburgh College of Art, Barbara Rae has always been influenced by her surroundings in her work. A scholarship allowed her to explore Europe for the first time in 1966 and this was the beginning of her lifelong passion for travel. This book charts the development of her work alongside her journeys around the globe, and the chapters are thus divided topographically: from ‘Ireland’ and ‘Spain’ to ‘Arizona’ and ‘South Africa’. The reader comes to an understanding of the importance of place in Rae’s work – in particular, the human traces and patterns of history that are left on a landscape – and at the same time gains an insight into how the structure of a landscape is simply the starting point for an experimental studio process, involving paint, colour and collage, that borders on abstraction. Her ‘pure pleasure of painting’ is evident in the dynamic and experimental works shown.

In an extensive interview by Andrew Lambirth, Rae reveals the fascinating secrets of what goes on in her studio, such as throwing buckets of water at her paintings and working on large scale pictures on the floor; letting them accumulate splatters as part of their ‘life’. An essay by Bill Hare situates the work in its twentieth- and twenty-first-century contexts. The contribution of the authors combined with the lavish and extensive illustrations ensure that this book is an important and engaging homage to the life and work of this extraordinary painter.


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