Unlike so much of art today, Barbara’s work is not visually explosive or emotionally searing. Her art is subtle, her message embedded in the image itself. The images in her tapestries seem so normal, so quotidian. But wait, look again. For instance, the Canadian Klansman in the Cover Up Series seems so innocuous with his paunch, his tassel, his school tie, his somewhat crossed eyes. But we know who and what he is. The world behind him is on fire yet his stance seems to say: “what, me worry?” This incongruity – which appears in every tapestry in the series – is the point.

At first sight these tapestries all seem unremarkable but a few seconds reflection will reveal a disturbing truth. Because their message takes a little time to sink in, I thought that words might help, thus the poems. I do not intend the poems to be anything like a definitive explication of the images, rather an individual take, my own reaction. Hopefully the poems will not prevent anyone from imposing their own interpretation on the images, will not impede dialogue between the viewer and the work. They are intended purely to encourage the viewer to engage the work in a personal way.

Michael Karton

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