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Interview with an artist: Barb Andersson


‘Isolated Haunts’ by Barb Andersson

Oct 22 to Dec 17, 2015
Meet the artist: Oct 25 and Nov 29, 2015

AOE Gallery
Shenkman Arts Centre
245 Centrum Blvd,
Ottawa, ON K1E 0A1
*Free Parking

Barb Andersson has always had a love for art, interior design and photography. She spent many years teaching with the Ottawa Carleton School Board as well as consulting for various interior decorating projects. More recently, photo based photography has become a passion. She is continually drawn in by the changing flux of fashion and design and very much influenced by nature and landscape. She has exhibited in the annual AOE SELECTIONS Arts Council’s exhibit from 2011-2014.

1-How did you learn photography?
I am self-taught. I have taken photos with very basic cameras from the time I was a teenager. Capturing and recording images and moments have always been important to me.

I grew up making endless photo albums and scrapbooks – cutting and collaging “old school” to create an image or mood. The digital age really opened the door for me to experiment with photography in a new way.

2-What is your artistic approach?
For me it is all about creating a mood. When I see an image that interests me I think about how I can photograph it to create a feeling. I am not tech savvy but sometimes resort to playing with the color, contrast or brightness to help enhance the mood in the photo I’ve captured.


Barb Andersson, ‘Don’t Look Back’

3-Do you employ a digital or an analog camera?
I use two different digital cameras and have also started taking photos with my phone.

4-Do you choose the paper or the display in a way that reflects the content of the piece?
Absolutely! For the exhibit ‘Isolated Haunts’ I experimented with several different paper finishes and framing styles. The muted colors and various wooden structures in the photos needed a specific look. In the end I chose a luster paper finish with simple barn board style frames to enhance the mood of the photos.

5-Do you prefer colour photography or only black and white?
It depends on the subject of the photo. Most of my photos seem to end up working better in black and white.

6-How has your background as a teacher and interior designer, influenced your career as an artist?
Teaching art from kindergarten to grade eight, over the course of many years, pushed me to explore a variety of styles and mediums. The students themselves were an inspiration and never failed to amaze me with their ability to create beautiful and inspiring art.

My experience as an interior designer has taught me to work through the artistic process with a very specific end result in mind. That might be limiting for some artists but for me it is important.

7-You have been part of SELECTIONS, AOE Arts Council’s annual exhibition, for many years. Can you tell us about that experience?
SELECTIONS has been a wonderful opportunity and experience in that it allows both seasoned or emerging artists like myself to be a part of the artist community in a meaningful and public way. For some of us it is the first time we have exhibited. It allows for a variety of visual mediums and offers artists a chance to step beyond their studios and share their work.

Barb Andersson, 'Taken'

Barb Andersson, ‘Taken’

8-Could you describe your exhibit?
‘Isolated Haunts and the Roads that take us there’

These photos are a collection of images I have taken from various travels. Some are as close as ‘down the road’ in Ottawa, while others were taken in Quebec, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Scotland, and Finland. I look for images to create, that speak to me in terms of unexpected beauty. I have always wondered why so many buildings end up in disrepair and abandoned. Why do people leave? What sort of memories do they take while leaving the physical behind? I wanted the images in this series to exhibit not only a sense of isolation but to evoke a personal emotion in the viewer…unease, loneliness, abandonment, quiet regret. What path do we choose in life…where will it lead us? The endless, sometimes ominous roads that draw us in and the weathered decay of the structures left behind remind us that a chosen path can push us to see with our eyes, but feel with our hearts.’

More about the artist

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