Barbara Schaff born 1941, “Farm Series #5, Storm””, 12x12, oil pastel, acrylic on paper, Collection of the artist

Barbara Schaff born 1941, “Farm Series #5, Storm”, 12×12, oil pastel, acrylic on paper, Collection of the artist

True Grit: The Poetic Eye of Barbara Schaff, a current exhibit at the Michener, showcases the inspired and intuitive work of local Philadelphia artist, Barbara Schaff.  With a certificate from Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) and former student of calligraphy and ink painting at the China National Academy of Fine Art in Hagzhou, China, Schaff’s education and experience shines through her work.  Schaff’s imaginative and thought-provoking paintings guide the viewer into her world of color and lines.  Her free form allows for many different types of interpretation, and individuals are invited to create their own stories surrounding the art.  Take a closer look at this work. What do you see? What stories or memories come to mind when looking at this work?

As a great admirer of Abstract Expressionism, I am very attracted to Schaff’s art for a variety of reasons.  I find her use of color to create light incredibly imaginative and awe-inspiring.  Additionally, I appreciate her line technique, as it is both restrained and free, and showcases her calligraphy experience.  Lastly, I find her titles to serve as guidance when viewing the art, while still allowing me to create my own interpretation of what is represented.  Her pieces are emotional and show a reality that is not always perfect, but “gritty”, which I appreciate.  What do you think of Schaff’s technique? Does this technique add to your interpretation to the work? How?

Farm Series, 5, Storm represents Schaff’s intuitive style and use of color to create light and movement.  I visualize an old tree, with deep roots and long branches, blowing in the wind.  Although the day is overcast, the sun shines through, casting light on the leaves.  Perhaps it is beginning to rain.  Regardless, the tree represents strength and resilience, no matter the season or weather.  I appreciate the restrained color palette and ability to capture so much movement through lines.  It is as though the lines never start or stop, but are a continuation of one another.  What do you think of Farm Series, 5, Storm?

True Grit: The Poetic Eye of Barbara Schaff is on view at the Michener through July 24.  This exhibit inspires and intrigues the viewer with pieces that channel Schaff’s work in calligraphy and ink painting, and showcase her desire to search for the poetic image.  Please call or visit the website for tickets and additional information.  For those that have already visited True Grit, what did you think of Schaff’s work?  What sparked your imagination? Was there a particular piece that you favored?  Share your thoughts with us below!

-Caitlin McGrother, Michener Art Museum Intern