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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Barbara Pence

Barbara Pence

My paintings usually suggest some kind of story. I strive to combine the critical elements of drawing, texture, composition, color, and meaning - as conveyed by the chosen objects of each work - to hold the viewer in front of my paintings to invent their own narrative.

Aside from their symbolism, I have a strong affection for the objects themselves in my paintings. Our lives are filled with objects, and we value them for many things, mainly related to their utility in our lives. However, our everyday familiarity with them often causes them to lose power to draw our attention. When an object goes into a painting, it is restored to the spotlight and we regard it anew and re-appreciate its special qualities. Partly for that reason I pay as much attention to an accurate rendering of the objects as I do to the symbolism of their presence.

Why contemporary realism? It seems to me that it narrows the distance between the viewer and the painting by not creating barriers to understanding. Viewers are not intellectually put off by being asked to “make sense” of an unrecognizable, abstract image. At the same time, use of realism runs the risk of seeming too obvious with respect to meaning. Therefore as the artist, my challenge is to structure the paintings so that the realism evokes more than a conventional emotion or reaction to the objects, thereby allowing deeper, perhaps more serious meanings to emerge for the viewer. I do this in a variety of ways: by using unconventional perspectives, formats, and/or unexpected objects. Excellence in rendering is also always a goal.


2012 - Award of Merit, Springville Art Salon, Springville, UT

2005 - Best of Show, UTAH IMAGES 2005 , Equitable Insurance Co. Salt Lake City, Utah

2003 - Best of Show, Utah County Art Guild Exhibit


Utah County, Utah, Permanent Collection
National City Bank, Louisville, Kentucky
Bellarmine University, Louisville, Kentucky
Club de Ejecutivos, Cali, Colombia
Hotel Los Tajibos, Santa Cruz, Bolivia


From 2008 – 2011, attended the Jeff Hein Academy of Art, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Prior to that was self-taught and attended workshops with various artists, including Sherrie McGraw, Katherine Chang Liu, Lowell Smith, Alex Powell, and Fred Graff in the U.S. Also received instruction from Juan Fernando Polo, formerly head of the School of Fine Arts in Cali, Colombia
also here (blog)

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