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Head shot of Kathryn Barker, smiling.

I'm a visual artist and designer living and working in the Kansas City area. My most recent work is primarily in mixed media and often incorporates painting, photography, and encaustic to create narrative works. 

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Whether in watercolor, photoencaustic, or anther medium, much of my work is an exploration of time, truths, and transparency. They can be uncomfortable or challenging, since they are my way of working through hard truths. But, I despair cheerfully, and sometimes I just paint pretty flowers.

Kathryn Barker works in a variety of mediums, all united by a passion for nature, both human and not, and a love of vibrant and evocative color.

 

Barker can’t recall a time she wasn’t making art, and much of her childhood was spent drawing horses and beautiful ladies.  But this early love of art did not lead directly to career making art. Barker graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Art Education and graduate studies in the university’s Book Arts program. Later, Barker completed a Master of Liberal Arts at Baker University and began working as an instructional designer. “I was happily working in a creative field and enjoying my life, maybe a little complacent. Then I got a completely unexpected cancer diagnosis. In the midst of all the turmoil of treatment plans a thought struck me, ‘I don’t want to die without making art.’ It bowled me over, and I decided that as soon as I was well I was going to make art. No matter what. I can’t say that cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me, but it was a very effective way of clarifying my priorities.”

 

That realization several years ago compelled Barker to resume her art career. She sharpened her skills, attended classes and workshops, and participated in an artist cooperative. Since then, Barker has sold her work at regional shows and exhibitions as well as at Images Art Gallery in Overland Park. One of her paintings was featured on the Kansas City Art Institute Continuing Education brochures and website.

 

Vibrant, translucent color, and the harmony of light and pigment, are key to Barker in the mediums she chooses. After beginning in watercolor and inks, Barker has expanded to photography and encaustics. “Digital images broaden my opportunities to explore narrative in exciting new ways. Combining photography or watercolor with encaustic alters the work to make it more dimensional and atmospheric. Wax literally adds depth to an image, and at the same time I strive to add emotional depth.

 

Whatever the medium, every work is a thoughtful exploration of time, truths, and transparency. “People often comment about an immediate, gut-level connection with a piece. It’s not always comfortable, because my work can deal with loss on many levels. But, I cherish the opportunity to share that moment of connection.”

Selected Shows & Exhibitions

2023

Art Heals, InterUrban ArtHouse, Overland Park, KS

Member Show, Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art, St Joseph, MO

 

2022

Her Art/Their Art, InterUrban ArtHouse, Overland Park, KS

 

2021

Life in Quarantine, Art at the Center, Overland Park, KS

 

2020

Who Does She Think She Is?, InterUrban ArtHouse, Overland Park, KS

Local Women in Art, Art at the Center, Overland Park, KS

Invitational Exhibition of Local Women in Art
Art at the Center, Overland Park, KS

 

2019

12x12 Show, InterUrban ArtHouse, Overland Park, KS

Member Showcase, InterUrban ArtHouse, Overland Park, KS

 

2018

One Night Stand, Kansas City Artist Coalition,

Kansas City, MO

 

2017

Kansas City Art Institute Continuing & Professional Studies Invitational Exhibition, Kansas City, MO

 

2016

Kansas City Art Institute Continuing & Professional Studies Invitational Exhibition, Kansas City, MO

 

2015

Kansas City Art Institute Continuing & Professional Studies Invitational Exhibition, Kansas City, MO

Related Experience

2017 -2021, member, Images Art Gallery, artist’s cooperative, Overland Park, KS

2018 - present, artist member, InterUrban ArtHouse, Overland Park, KS

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