Monday, January 5, 2015

Interview with Artist Barbara Rehg

Woven, 72x54, Charcoal, ink, oil stick, chalk

1. Who are you and what do you do, and what is your background?
I am someone interested in understanding my world. Drawing, painting, photography,        reading and looking are the methods I use to bring clarity to my curiosity.  
So, background is a process of building…a timeline of one thing leading to the next, choices being made along the way. 
Watching Jon Gnagy ‘Learn to Draw’ on Saturday morning TV when I was a preschool child was the first inkling I had an obsession with mark making. What I find interesting at this point in my life, is that the show wasn’t dummied down for children…it was fascinating. I learned about perspective, contrast, shading, seeing. It was magic. 
Once in school, any chance I had to draw legitimately on my assignments made the work worthwhile learning. Later, of course, I drew while listening to lectures and when I should have been taking notes. 
My art classes, at first, were simply joyous breaks in the day but as I grew older, they started to take on a competitive atmosphere. By the time I was finished with college, my BA seemed inadequate to the task of being an artist. 
For a long time, all I had were small, stolen moments of sketching. Gradually, over the years, I allowed myself to become obsessed once again with the visual language of drawing and painting. I let other concerns of being judged become less and less important. 
So, here I am today…learning who I am, how I view the world…all through the process of drawing and painting. 

Blackboard, 32x84, Chalk on Blackboard paint
2. What's integral to your art and or art career?
Of primary importance, my connection with other artists. It is through those connections that I have grown most. Growth, change, learning…these are what are important to my art. 

3. What themes do you pursue and what medium do you use?
I’d like to address media first. I have definite preferences. Charcoal being the first, followed by oil sticks, ink, watercolor, colored pencils and graphite. Media, however, isn’t a deciding factor when I begin a piece. I’m happy working with any of the above. Although I delve into color occasionally, it is secondary to mark making. 
For a  number of years, the focus of my work was about the mind and how it learns and what it learns. Of late, it has morphed into my understanding of how I am intrinsically connected to this world and how that is woven into my past. 

4. What makes you angry, what makes you happy?
What makes me happy? For the most part, it is loving the moment I am in. Whether it is walking alone in the woods, listening to music while doing yoga, being with my family: talking, laughing, playing cards, or skiing, being in my studio faced with a problem of a painting that isn’t working and trying to solve it, walking through an art museum, reading a book by a fire, pulling weeds alongside my husband …the moment of realizing… I am aware, I see, I feel, I think, I live. 

Anger is very hard to hold on to. Disgust is a more accurate word. I get disgusted with people who do violent acts and place the blame on someone else. Anger feeds anger. It’s malignant and the stronger it is, the more virulent it becomes. 
Detail from Graffiti Wall,108x54, Charcoal, Ink, Oil Stick on paper
5. Who and what inspire you in your work and or in your life in general?
Inspiration, for my work and life, comes from so many sources. My family, my artist friends, books I read, images I see, travels I experience. 

6. What superpower would you want?
I would want a sharp mind with a golden tongue. 
7. Who are your favorite artists and or other persons?
When I first saw the drawing of Leonardo DeVinci, I was entranced. Later, I found Diebenkorn, DeKooning and Joan Mitchell and a part of my brain woke with a jolt. But that’s my visual world…I live with an amazing man who never stops challenging himself and that inspires me to embrace my own set of challenges. 

8. What advice would you give to other artists?
Making work that fascinates you and has meaning to you…enriches your whole life. 

Dig Down, 54x72, Charcoal, oil stick on canvas  
Barbara Rehg
Exhibit and Drawing Marathon Chair for the WCAGA (

Artist with Murer Gallery in Atlanta

1 comment:

  1. Great interview Barbara. Powerful paintings from a deeply committed mark maker!