Sharon Louise Barnes is an inter-disciplinary artist who investigates how process and materials create meaning. Her abstract collage paintings, sculptures and installations are both conceptual and aesthetic, informed by cultural identity, and the potency of change. It is an alchemic practice that draws certain references to African ceremonial art, which uses materiality to invoke the 'magical', in order to subdue the hostile elements in the world. “Through processes that alter the state of various materials, and then layers and entwines them into new realities,” says the artist, “I ponder our ability to transmute the challenges confronting us, whether personal or societal, through the medium of Social Abstraction.”
Barnes started teaching herself to paint with oils in her early adolescence. She was later awakened to the expressive power of art when a professor in college, renowned artist Samella Lewis, exposed her to the visual artists of the Black Arts Movement. She counts those artists among her lasting influences, as well as many modernist and contemporary painters and sculptors who explore materials. (Visit her interview with artist Gregory Coates, linked under the About Menu.)
Barnes is a fifth generation Californian descended from African American and Cape Verdean ancestors whose trials and triumphs inspire her. She has exhibited in galleries, universities, museums and art fairs, including group shows at the California African American Museum, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Aqua Art Miami, the Los Angeles Tom Bradley Airport and a collaborative installation at the historic Arco Chato in Panama City during her residency at Taller Portobello.