“Painting is my spiritual practice. It comes out of the idea that the world is shifting from a point of disintegration to integration, from suffering to restoration. In the truest sense, “beauty” expresses the vulnerability as we transition from ambition to empathy.”
Through her tranquil scenes, Rhodes communicates her genuine artistic vision, asking the viewer to pause in contemplation, seek balance, and find restoration.
Rhodes builds her paintings up in layers, grounding them with metals and bringing them to an airy lightness that invokes a sense of calm. Ribbons of minerals flow across fields of translucent color. Rhodes explores “colors, shapes, and textures in their on-going evolution.”
As a process artist, she works in a quiet and sensitive state of mind: feeling what is necessary to a work, sensing what is unnecessary, and knowing when to stop. There is an improvisational aspect to her work: Rhodes allows the elements to play off of one another, and explores the materials in their transient states.
Allowing for transience, the idea that as the artist works, the materials will continue to interact with each other in ways that are not predictable, is essential to the visual authenticity of each completed scene. The elegance of transience relates to the beauty within our imperfect world, and references the “humanness” within each of us, leading to acceptance and peace.
A key element within Rhodes’ work, related to transience, is “brokenness”, an aesthetic that goes to the acceptance of imperfection. To create in this way requires complete surrender, on the part of the artist, to the process, to the materials, and to the way in which the materials interact. Within a state of surrender, the artist works to bring all of the elements of a work to a harmonic conclusion. To create her transient works, Rhodes reaches for elements like finely ground metallic powders, broken glass, and concrete. Her trademark metals are “from the earth”, grounding her light visions to the core. The feeling of swirling skies, river valleys and water-inspired landscapes run through her scenes.
There is a pure essence about them: the viewer “can feel the energy of the light, minerals and the water.” The use of glass in her work expresses the reflective qualities of life itself; the use of gold, silver, bronze and copper, speaks to the divinity within the natural world.
Mary Barr Rhodes has won numerous awards and is represented in private and corporate collections in North America, Europe and South America. She was voted Abstract Artist of the year in 2014, at the international, juried Art Comes Alive exhibition. In 2017, she was awarded the William Dubber Award by Venue Magazine. She is represented locally by Veronique Gallery in Montgomery, Ohio. She is also represented by Art Fusion Galleries in Miami, Florida; and Scher Galleries in Hallendale,Florida. During Miami Art Basel in 2015, she exhibited with Art Fusion Galleries and in 2016 and 2017 at Art Basel, she exhibited with Art Design Consultants in Art Spectrum. She also exhibited in Art San Diego in 2016. Rhodes works and lives in Cincinnati, OH.