These works are a way of repairing, an offering and a form of prayer
They are a way of making sense of my life my loves and beliefs
They are about questioning and the acceptance of not knowing
They reflect my inner and outer life
They teach me and I follow
I cut up of old paintings,
the macro has become micro
and past and present have merged
The familial and collective transitioning of the world
Piecing together a loved one’s psyche
Think of them as a cat. I cannot know their mind
I can offer saucers of milk
The work is complete when it has transcended the materials and a new presence is born
They are alive and ever changing
Tell me about the genesis of this body of work.
These works had their genesis in the darkness of the pandemic and were created from my need to shine light and make sense of my world. In the beginning the isolation forced an introspective state of being. I became more aware of all the old unresolved work in my studio/living space: some works went back decades and some were from only days before, some were on wood panels and some on linen, some were over eight feet tall and some were medium to small. They depicted figures, landscapes, and abstractions, all painted expressionistically. They also shared another commonality—they all included passages that worked and were beautiful.
With this consolation I took a jigsaw and cut out the passages that were successful to create small paintings. I then cut the unfinished paintings into four or five-inch squares. Once cut up, the extraneous fell away and they were reduced to their essence. From these I created small free standing and wall hung totems, vertical diptychs, sculptural objects, and miniature paintings. The macro became micro and the past and present merged. The work was cyclical and reflected the palpable elasticity of time. The assembling for me was a way of repairing and an offering.
Please guide us through the show.
The work is comprised of three interrelated themes, vertical diptychs, small sculptural paintings, and miniature relic paintings.
Dorothy’s Dress, at 15”x 8” is the largest of the vertical diptychs. When I made this, it reminded me of my mother, she was very beautiful and would pose in that languorous way women of her generation did. I painted many works from old childhood photos, but I can’t honestly remember if this is part of a mother painting. The thick impasto oil paint gives it a gritty edge that contrasts with the graceful silhouette.
Saucers of Milk is one of the seventy or more miniatures included. It is two inches by one- and three-quarter inches and edged in gold leaf. Some in this series are less than half an inch. Some are an inch thick off the wall. I am fascinated with scale and that the miniature can look monumental. These paintings progressed from ones that could be held in the palm of the hand to ones you could carry in your pocket. They were the last pieces I made and were the culmination of the cutting up of final remnants. I love the traveling prayer boxes and relics that have crossed all cultures.
Second Beach is five by three and a half inches including the wood pedestal. The title refers to the resort which is owned by the Quileute tribe on the Olympic Peninsula. I realized after my trip there this summer that this painting could be a sea stack, part of the rainforest or a Buddhist sculpture.
All photo courtesy of the artist unless otherwise indicated.
Mostly self-taught, Barbara Laube has always painted. Her decade’s long painting practice has taken her to Italy, France, Spain, Germany and South America. She has shown extensively in New York, including The Museum of Modern Art, Zurcher Gallery, M. David & Co., The Painting Center, Wave Hill, Carter Burden Gallery, The Bowery Gallery, Cheryl Hazan Gallery and Sideshow Gallery. She has also shown at Kent State University in Ohio, New Mexico, Illinois, Washington, California, New Jersey, and Texas. She will show in Rheims, France in June. Ms. Laube lives and works in Riverdale, New York.
594 Valley Road, Mews Courtyard, Montclair NJ 07042
Feb 12 to March 20, 2022