Barbara Close Lepak
Art has been a driving force for me since early childhood. My formal arts education began with oil painting lessons at a small museum school and continued through graduate school, and informally, through mentorship. I use my research in the art of cultural groups, and my interest in the natural world to work with school curricula, connecting children with the larger world, each other, and themselves. My pastel paintings and sculpture relate to our environment, and its relationship to the human condition. The renewal of nature through the seasons of birth, growth, and death in winter that permits the renewal of life in the spring, is a metaphor for the seasons that we go through in our physical and spiritual lives. In my work, I reference natural objects and personal emotions, with the resulting artwork ranging from realistic to very abstract, but always with sensual line and color. In a recent solo show, sculptures were placed in proximity to pastel paintings that were similar to them in color, form, or theme to enhance the relationship. Whether the work is in clay or pastels, people want to feel it, to sense the form with more than their eyes. A functional pottery piece derives its beauty not only from a gorgeous palette of glazes that provides depth and interest to the surface, but also from the attention to purpose that makes the piece a pleasure to touch, see, and use for years.