Beth Barry has always loved the beach, spending her younger days biking there from her hometown of New Bedford. She loved to swim and feel the sand between her toes, but she especially loved the combination of the rhythmic sounds (or roar) of the ocean, as well as the colors and the way the sunlight could change them. It wasn’t until she flew in an airplane for the first time in her early teens that she felt a deep, personal connection to the light and movement of the beach that she loved so much. Moving across the land and viewing it from a unique perspective, she could see light move with the objects, changing the shapes and colors of what she saw below. This resonance that she felt was exciting and highly informative to developing her style, and it changed her life forever.
Ms. Barry now resides in New York City and often goes to Central Park to paint “en plein air.” She always brings her portable easel, paints and chair with her whenever she travels, and typically paints a scene inspired by what she sees — and feels! For Ms. Barry, a painting starts with an emotional response to either light, or a color, or a shape: “integrations of what I see externally, or what I see in my mind’s eye.”
Often her paintings are her expressionistic interpretation of landscapes or seascapes — real and imaginary. Painting is like an impulse to Ms. Barry, and brings her great joy in life. For her, “the images, the light, the movement … create a sense of pleasure. That’s what I want people to feel when they look at my paintings.” Displaying and sharing her artwork is something that she looks forward to time and time again. If someone responds to her artwork, then she feels that she has succeeded.
One of her main influences is the work of expressionist painter Richard Diebenkorn, who had an apparent passion for Edward Hopper’s work. You can see the Diebenkorn influence in Ms. Barry’s muted yet colorful canvases, as well as the stark strokes made. In her painting, “Couple,” you can see the emotion Ms. Barry clearly felt when creating this abstract art, from the organic shapes to the colors used and their placement. In “Cappadocia,” there is no doubt that Ms. Barry painted her interpretation of the volcanic formations and the emotions she felt from viewing such spectacular natural phenomena. When it comes to abstractions, she paints “integrations of what I take in from the world — what I see and what I feel.”
The show will open on Saturday, April 22 (Earth Day!), 2 – 4 p.m., at Gallery Sitka, 454 Main Street in Fitchburg, and will run through Memorial Day. The show is fittingly entitled “Earth’s Magic,” and reflects on the ethereal complexity and wonder that is Mother Nature. We invite everyone to come and be inspired by the richness of the earth through Beth Barry’s paintings, and to celebrate the lush beauty we get to take in every day.