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, with deep underpinnings in culture. It is an alchemic process that draws certain references to African tribal ceremonial art, which uses materiality to invoke magic to subdue the hostile elements in the world.
Working with rough, industrial materials that might normally be held in a laborer's hands such as brown-black roofing paper and conduit, as well as battered objects found on city streets, her work frequently ponders societal challenges, using the medium of Social Abstraction. Color and form can spark conversations about race, class, gender and embracing difference, while suspended sculptures defy the weight of their condition and others climb the obstacle of walls.
"My work with rough materials is a contemplative and metaphoric process of transforming constructed realities. I've always believed that art making can inform us about the powerful magic in acts of volition."
Born in Sacramento, CA and raised in South Los Angeles, 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.
Barnes lives and works in Los Angeles; and 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.