Barbara Rosenzweig

Barbara Rosenzweig Statement – 2014


I was reading an article in the ‘New York Times’; it talked about being in the zone, and being in the zone you’re so focused that time ceases to exist. It’s when you think, ‘Oh, I’ve been doing this for five hours and didn’t even know it.'”
—Steve Martin


Loving what I do has put me into that wonderful zone. I love to paint. I love everything about it…I love the colors, the feel of the paint, the smell of the paint. Painting has taken me on a journey of discovery, challenge, thought and great joy.

For more than a decade the interrelationship of line, color and surface has been both the subject and the content of my work.  In 1998, I attended a show of Bill Jensen paintings, paintings that he had made while he was in residence in Italy (those paintings were very unlike the work he is known for today). Those were minimal paintings in wonderful Italian earth colors with a surface that was incredibly smooth. They spoke to me…I was completely taken with them. In fact, his paintings changed my entire approach to painting until this day. Surface became extremely important to me and, through exploration and experimentation, I have discovered a surface of my own.

In my earliest minimalist paintings I dealt with Unidentifiable Color, which I would create by building thin layer after thin layer of color allowing the translucency of each stratum to pass through to the next. This layering resulted in a surface that was rich in color, skin-like in appearance and suggested a glimmer of light rising from within. These paintings were simple and pure.

The introduction of line moved my paintings along a path that began to raise new questions. Is it the line that creates form or the form that creates line? What is line? Is it a measure? Is it a color? Is it a vestige of a transverse plane? Is it a directional signifier? How fast is it moving?

What is color? Is it emotional? Is it abstract? Is it aesthetic? Does it give weight to the various parts of the painting? Can it share equal weight with lines? With each painting there is always a new question and a new challenge. 

The lines in my paintings have multiplied and changed their course many times over the years. In the most recent work lines travel together in parallel, weaving throughout the canvas in a bold and energetic way, they reach out beyond the very boundaries of the canvas. These lines are applied with great care and precision. Mathematical, as they may appear, this work is intuitive…I am always ready for the unexpected and whatever changes might be required along the way.

Inspiration for each painting comes directly from the preceding work. The questions that arise while working on a piece continue to intrigue me and challenge me. They take me beyond the physical boundaries of painting and into a thoughtful world in which I enter that wonderful zone.


— Barbara Rosenzweig