Welcome to RiverSea Gallery!

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    Betsy Barnum


    Artist's Statement

    I was born in San Francisco and have lived all over the US, but my favorite place is the Pacific Northwest Coast. I currently live in Seattle, Washington, with my husband and two miniature Schnauzers. I love to ride and tinker with my bicycle and my latest dream is making art on long cycling/camping trips.
    I use my works on paper to describe my life, expressing my thoughts and emotions about a specific moment or circumstance through my relationships with those I am close to. I build up thin layers of paint, ink and pencil to conceal and reveal images the way emotions and behavior are unconsciously layered to hide or signal something to others. The gesture and composition of the figures in my work are very important, as they are the first indicators of the work’s meaning. I use recurring objects from piece to piece as symbols or metaphors for people and ideas. For example, I often use a typewriter to represent myself, or birds as metaphors for fear and emotion. I use paper as my surface because of its flexibility, smoothness, and capacity for erasure. Like a palimpsest, it shows the progression and history of layers of marks. Like skin it wrinkles and fights back when worked on, asserting its personality into the painting or drawing. Like journal pages, my work is an ongoing narrative, each piece chronologically linked to the others. Each gesture, color, layer, and object is significant, and each work interacts with the others to establish meaning through a repetition of these elements.