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“Reality is a process undergoing constant transformation.’ — Paulo Freire


Sharon L Barnes is an inter-disciplinary Los Angeles-based artist who explores process and materials in the creation of meaning. Her layered paintings, sculptural works and installations are sourced from a broad range of materials that can include city grit from the streets of Los Angeles, thrift store finds, or materials that are normally found in a laborer’s hands, as stratums of materials are fused into her haptic, visceral works. Through the medium of Social Abstraction, she considers the current and historic intersections of culture, race, gender and power structure to investigate struggle and resilience, and the ability to transform conditional reality. Her use of materiality and alchemic processes is additionally inspired by African tribal arts that invoke ‘magic’ to subdue the hostile forces in the world. The complex backdrop of the black experience continually inspires her work.


Born in Sacramento, CA, and raised in Los Angeles, she is a fifth generation Californian descended from African Americans and Cape Verdeans who brought their families to northern California in the latter part of the 19th century. Barnes studied at Otis College of Art & Design, and earned a B.A. cum laude in Telecommunications-Film from California State University Los Angeles. She has recently returned to obtain her MFA in Fine Arts at Otis. Barnes has exhibited widely 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 site installation “Altares” at the historic Arco Chato in collaboration with artists that included Torkwase Dyson and Imna Arroyo during a residency at the Spelman College Art Colony, Taller Portobelo, in the Republic of Panama.