Soft Pastel on Sandpaper
58” x 38”
70” x 50” Framed
The Black Paintings series of pastel-on-sandpaper paintings grew directly from the earlier Domestic Threats. Both series use cultural objects as surrogates for human beings acting in mysterious, highly-charged narratives.
In the Black Paintings the figures (actors) take central stage. All background details, furniture, rugs, etc. are eliminated and replaced by intense dark black pastel. Each painting takes months to complete as I slowly layer and blend up to 30 layers of soft pastel.
Both series use cultural objects as surrogates for human beings acting in mysterious, highly-charged narratives. In the Black Paintings the figures (actors) take central stage. All background details, furniture, rugs, etc. are eliminated and replaced by intense dark black pastel. Each painting takes months to complete as I slowly layer and blend up to 30 layers of soft pastel.
The idea for this series, Black Paintings, began when I attended a jazz history course and learned how Miles Davis developed cool jazz from bebop. In bebop the notes were played hard and fast as musicians showcased their technical virtuosity. Cool jazz was a much more relaxed style with fewer notes, i.e., the music was pared down to its essentials.
Similarly this series evolved from dense, complex visual compositions into paintings that depict only the essential elements—the actors.
As this series evolves what is left out becomes increasingly more important, resulting in more demands being placed on the viewer.
Barbara Rachko is an American contemporary artist and author who divides her time between residences in New York, NY and Alexandria, VA. She is best known for her pastel-on-sandpaper paintings, her ebook, “From Pilot to Painter,” and her blog, “Barbara Rachko’s Colored Dust.”
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