Artworks of Barbara F. Postel
 
Art Reviews and Interviews

 

Core Energy...There are no sharp corners in Barbara Postel's oil painting. Everything flows. From a palette of clear, bold, molten tones and hues, the surfaces of clouds, rocks, running and failing water are simplified and separated into tiered planes of color that brings an awareness of the form's core energy. Postel observes her landscapes in nature and, using an economy of detail, spatially flattens their unifying rhythmic patterns to transform them into arbitrary and forceful compositions, independent of description, and pushed toward abstraction. Time and again shows her fascination with water or, particularly, its movement ...... whether cascading over a fall or its action compressed as it moves through a labyrinth of stones. Even when painting rock formations alone, her watery abstractions can be found in the rendering of their surfaces.
Recently Postel has begun producing drawings in pastel, oil pastel, and/or oil stick. As with the painting, they are water - or cloud-dominated; but here searing, jagged trails of color often animate the integrated, partially abstracted shapes of the landscapes. Impressionistic, vibrant, and immediate, they further demonstrate the underlying fusion of the artist's naturalist and decorative interests.
Barbara Postel's art is impregnated with an innate sense of the structure of arrested movement. Like frozen frames from a motion picture, her works promote the possibility that the image may continue moving again at any moment.
- Brian Rushton - 87

 

Powerful landscapes................. Dark swirls shot through with streaks of light capture her impressions of a stormy sky; broiling waves of color render her relationship to rocks and water..."
Art & Science Carol Goodale - 86

Barbara is an inventive, creative and ingenious person ............ combines all these elements in a bold, geometric and abstract way.
H.W. Peschel A. I.A. -'81

a promising figurative painter. She can paint anything as expertly as anyone - remarkable........
Art News L. Campbell -'70

Bravo! several times for a splendid group of canvases. You have a gift for original landscape - structure on abstract form...
Joseph Hirsch -'70

Selected by a jury of prominent Artists as an exceptionally gifted young artist........ Stewart Klonis -'68 Art Students League Director


INTERVIEWS

NEW HOPE GAZEITE May 20,'1999

Cyber art in the woods
Bridget Wingert - Editor

High on a hill in Point Pleasant Barbara Postel and her husband, Carlos Guerrero, have built a house and workplace just for themselves, called Pyramid Studios.
The building has closet-like rooms for computers and large rooms for studios-watercolor work space separate from oil space. A bedroom looks down on woods, and the Delaware, one of Barbara's favorite subjects, shows through the bare trees in winter. Night-blooming cereus stems climb upward in a stairwell from the bedroom to the light from the attic windows. Cameras lie on a desk near the stairs and on tripods nearby, ready to catch the elusive flowers in stages of bloom.
"I've always used a camera," Barbara says. As a child, she photographed her family. Later, she snapped pictures of boyfriends and race horses. In 1958 she traveled to Cuba with a friend and two young men they met in Miami and brought home a record of the trip. She was on the last flight of Americans evacuated from Cuba in 1959.
She has always dared to be different, in her life and in her art. Her big, bold paintings of the river are not the stuff most landscapes are made of. She has hundreds of pictures of frogs who live in the pond off the back deck, and hundreds more in the cereus series. Although the subjects are very much in the natural world, she has moved into cyberspace to display them.

"I used to take pictures as paintings. I have thousands of photos," Barbara said. "They used to be like notes to do paintings." But her point of view has changed and she photographs scenes she will alter digitally.
"When I look at something to photograph," she said, "I think of the finished print or how I will change it." Where the possibilities were limited before by the brushstrokes she applied translating from photograph to canvas, the possibilities seem endless today.

She can add color and flatten it, try the same color in different spaces, apply other colors, enhance them or play them down-and then print. "They're incredible, the colors," she said.
With a scanner and video jacks, the artist has a method for producing unique prints from the visual presentation on the computer screen and she is constantly looking for new directions, new technology, which she adapts with ease to her uses. Each year, she and Carlos invest in new equipment. They've built up an enviable stock of cameras and computers, all put to use. One of the next purchases is a digital camera.
For Barbara, the computer is not only an art medium. It's a sales tool. Beyond the creative stage, she has placed the computer at the heart of her business, developing a web catalog to sell the computer-generated prints and recording all of her paintings, with price, through photographs and the scanner on her web site (www.artistexpo.com). The computer keeps a visual record of pieces sold and their buyers: Not only that, Barbara has photographed Pyramid Studios and put the photos with a story about the buildings on the web. And for browsers who are interested, she has gone a step further with an autobiography-snapshots from the past, including some taken at the old Prelude nightclub in New Hope. "I've always loved to dance," she said.
Out of the local exhibition scene for a few years, Barbara has recently begun entering shows again. She displayed altered images of a mill building and a lock on the Delaware and Raritan Canal in the April Prallsville Mills exhibition and has submitted entries for the Artsbridge Annual Juried ExhibitiorL (slides made by computer) set for June at Prallsville Mills. She caught the Gazette's attention sending photos via e-mail, not the best way, yet, but it will be.

update note: Opening reception of Prallsville Mill juried show is June 26, 1999  6-9P.M.
One of the artists favorite paintings,
Frozen Waterfall-Ringing Rocks was selected.

excerpts from an interview with the artist for Structured Chaos at Pyramid Studios, published by the New Hope Gazette 4/13/89.
Bringing the sky down to Earth
by Sara Daniels

..........and I wasn't one of those kids who used to draw the sky on top of their paper, In fact, I used to tell the other children not to do that, but to make the sky come down to the Ground.
Then at age 10, the unthinkable happened. Her 31-year-old mother ill with colitis,died. Chaos set in, staying a long, long time. Postel, often at odds now with her father who didn't understand his daughter's artistic temperament, moved around, staying with relatives, attending different schools."I had no roots. I pretty much raised myself. "

She began painting rocks in Sicily, climbing with friends up the cliffs to an ancient Greek city that was being excavated in all its rocky splendor.......Sometimes, to get ready for a day of painting, Postel will climb the hill outside her door and with a pick rearrange the giant rocks into a terraced pattern. Not only is it relaxing and a bridge "from the outside world to my inner world of Painting" but it takes her back to her anthropological roots. "I like the feeling that when I'm digging I'm uncovering something no one has ever seen before, something millions of years old. It's autobiographical.


below- from an interview with the artist, , by Joan Jennings, published by the Hunterdon County Democrat, and the Delaware Valley News, New Jersey 6/89.

After her Mother's death when she was 10, her Father remarried and moved to Rhode Island where he became the manager of a large trucking company.
I did not get along with my step-mother and ran away at 14 to live with relatives in New York, but returned home after a few months. At 16 I left for good.
In school, she had designed an ultra-modern city, complete with, magnetized roads for cars.
Later she invented a fluid shutter, a layered window with fluid between the panes that changed
color and density with light.

......in 66 she went to the Art Students League. Two years later she won the Edward G. McDowell Traveling Scholarship, to live and work abraod, with a Solo exhibition on her return to New York City.

From Sicily she went to Paris. "Much too civilized" she says. With no destination in mind she went south. The train pulled into Marseille and felt like a Volcano went through my body, a physical thing that said this is where I want to be.

"to me its very easy to be realistic, but I have to be spontaneous, to react to something.......a spontaneous fusion with my subject, becoming what I paint. I can see sounds and feel rocks, they are a rigid material and yet flexible, thats the way I feel I am. I have to be like the rock of Gibralta to survive, but I have to be flexible so I wont crack."

When she is not painting she is into a new medium, computer art. "Wait till you see this stuff, a whole new world, another set of eyballs. Spending a day with Ms. Postel is like viewing life from the inside of a Kaleidoscope.


below- from a preview of a Solo Exhibition, published by The New Hope Gazette 10/5/89. 

To celebrate Point Pleasant's 250th year anniversary,Pyramid Studio will host a special exhibit of paintings and pastels by Barbara Postel. This inspirational weekend exhibit is a tribute to the lush visual imagery of this unique river village. The river, canal, creeks and hilllside woods of Point Pleasant are documented in these vibrant, impressionistic landscapes. Water is the dominant element of the artist's surroundings and is reflected in her work.Figurative work of bathers and the Swimming hole,at the foot of the cliffs by the artist's home,is the subject of a continuing series that began in 1972.
Barbara Postel's distinct sensory experience from nature is evident in her intense, expressive work. Primordial forces are transformed into evocative paintings. Electric greens and violets are amplified by the flashing of fiery colors that appear to radiate from within.
By contrast are the shimmering luminous paintings done in a pointilist style. These landscapes are a pulsating ballet of chromatic lights that appear to move in and out of the mist. Frozen River - Frenchtown View, has just won the 1989 Philips Mill Award for Pastel


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