Barbara Marks

Artist Statement

I make paintings—but drawing is my habit. I draw every day, any place, and everywhere. I draw mostly with an extra-superfine black Indian ink pen, and sometimes with colored ink. Much of my imagery comes from direct observation, but some of my drawings have moved into the realm of geometric abstraction, memory,and imagination.In the before times of 2019, I completed four month-long residencies in very different places—a lakeside town in Maine’s central highlands, the East End of Long Island, pastoral Upstate New York, and a sprawling industrial park in Barreiro, Portugal, across the bay from Lisbon. Target Practice is a series of drawings made on found paper—used pellet-gun targets—that I discovered while exploring the derelict buildings of an abandoned paint factory in Portugal.I also draw on collapsed, disassembled packaging—formerly containing such ordinary consumables as bar soap, crackers, toothpaste, a sandwich—reëmploying something meant for disposal by using it as a substrate for drawing and painting. . . . And I draw, rather obsessively, in accordion-fold albums. When expanded, each album contains twenty-four accordion pages on one continuous sheet of drawing paper, 123 inches long x 8.25 inches high, folded into a hardbound cover. In the last three years, I’ve filled 200+ albums with drawings—a journalistic record of time and place. “Isolation Journal” comprises 33 volumes, documenting my time—and the minutiae of daily life—in COVID isolation, living alone, in coastal Connecticut.My imagery is rooted in observation and it departs from it. I like to call attention to the commonplace and the local. I look where others don’t. There’s the external world—and then there’s me. My drawings and paintings are the intersection of the two. In that respect, they are intimate and personal; perhaps they’re narrative.

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