These days it is rare for the Royal Academician Barbara Rae, painter and master printmaker, to exhibit artwork in a commercial gallery, her work booked well in advance of its creation or snapped up to exhibit at the Royal Academy or national art museums here and abroad. Chance caught her attention of Linden Hall Studio and, duly impressed, she consented to an exhibition of selected prints, a unique show that includes a few major paintings as well as etchings and monoprints for sale.
Dr Barbara Rae CBE RA RSA RE began creating prints when a student at Edinburgh’s College of Art. Over the years she has perfected print techniques hitherto unknown and admired by her contemporaries. Her output has garnered many international awards and honours.
Respected internationally as a superb colourist, her work in private and national collections. Subject matter tends to be that shaped by the hand of humankind or by the weather. It can be an old farmstead extant for centuries, regiments grape ivy on a terraced hillside, or ancient carved standing stones on the bluff of a hill. Simply put, Rae records the passing of time. The history and people and spirit of a place form the core of her work, a location chosen carefully – often in remote lands – studied for weeks before putting brush to paper.
She works from sketches not photographs. Uninterested in topography, she eschews the label ‘landscape artist’. Fields of poppies and fluffy clouds hold no interest. With a painterly eye for mood and pattern, she often expresses what she sees in semi-abstract terms.
Rae created some of the prints in this exhibition on her studio etching press. Screenprints, etchings and monoprints consist of images from journeys to Ireland, France, Italy, and the Southwest USA, including trips to the cold Arctic, following in the footsteps of the celebrated cartographer and explorer Dr John Rae, discoverer of the Northwest Passage.
Rae travels the world in search of inspiration, her most recent journey across Iceland. She is soon to visit the Antarctic. Key books on her work include Barbara Rae – Prints; Barbara -Rae Northwest Passage; Barbara Rae – Sketchbooks, all published by the Royal Academy of Arts.