Barbara Robertson

Barbara Robertson

We live in a cinematic world; our eyes and brains are keyed to moving images, changing environments, and an ongoing stream of visual input. I create mixed media work that incorporates digitally generated imagery with traditional methods of drawing, painting and printmaking. Inspired by recent scientific inquiry in the fields of physics and astronomy, my work explores the relationship between form and content.

I have focused on pursuing these relationships as a visual artist, using color, weight, gravity and implied motion to engage the viewer’s perceptions of space. Technology, as a means of artistic expression, is a language we have developed over the past 20 years. Using digital tools I have been able to incorporate actual elements of light, scale, and time into the conversation to create and manipulate still images and to animate, alter, and create new hybrids and composite versions. Combining photographic images and drawn or printed images in way that uses the strengths of each, altering the scale of the images to best effect allows me to orchestrate a more compelling encounter for the viewer and to take a conceptual and creative leap in my work. Technology as a means of artistic expression has its own aesthetic qualities. It is a fascinating challenge to integrate it with traditional techniques in a way that has the potential to strengthen both and that serves the art.

In keeping with traditional printmaking concepts these pieces are composed using layers of images, each with their individual qualities and possibilities. Layers are created using drawing, painting, relief printmaking, and photography. And just as in traditional print art practice, the image layers can be changed at any point in the process. Each digital image file functions exactly as a plate or woodblock might. One great advantage to working with digital “plates” is that you can change the scale or color or texture with the click of a button.

I use a variety of source imagery to create the foundation for my work, including topographical maps, photos documenting light phenomena and mathematical configurations and patterns. I add drawings, paintings and photos – as single elements or as sequences to these underlying images to create environments where visual expansions and permutations can occur as the viewer spends time with the piece.

My current work is inspired by my interest in neuroscience. I incorporate actual imagery taken from various forms of brain imaging and combine them with my own imagined forms.


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