Barbara Kole

Barbara Kole's paintings on display at L.A. Artcore Gallery are made of movements and spaces. The style is uncluttered, but don’t mistake the spread of solid colors on either side of the canvas for any minimalist layout. At this point, the natural reaction of the viewer is to step forward, beckoned by lines that could be curved by some countryside zephyr. Slowly, it becomes clear that the frayed lines are in fact small, aligned dots, reminiscent of traditional designs of Native Australians, though the artist uses them her own different way.

Kolo’s work is rife with contrasts: utilizing both between modern and traditional techniques, she creates artwork standing on the edge of paradoxes. Blurring the limits between abstraction and figuration, dynamism and stillness, black and white, doted lines offers any number of distinct impressions.

Some of the abstract pieces can transport the viewer to a wild, unkempt grassland, beneath a chaotic horizon sketched by a raving seismograph, the ground and sky inverted like a photo negative. A closer look, with the painting occupying a viewer’s entire field of vision, reveals the artist’s patient and precise technique. It’s not a minimal two-color process at all, but rather an almost pointillist application of numerous colored dots, some plotted with rigorous exactitude and others spattered on the canvas with seeming spontaneity: all these multiple and varied spots working together in harmonic rhythm.
 
Kolo’s work is about distance and the movement it requires to be traversed. Put a point at the end of a sentence and it ends the sentence. Now put three points at the end of the same sentence to suggest continuity… She puts a thousand, a million points providing the dynamism it needs to blur the boundaries between things, like a landscape seen by a passenger through the window of a speeding train, or the twilight fading in and out in by the movement of the Earth.

The dot is Kolo’s aesthetic master key; she utilizes it to find a link between the great and the small when dots are randomly applied to compose… a larger dot. The fractal is among the most powerful and mysterious phenomena of the natural world; zooming in and out through different levels of Kolo’s fractalized composition creates a vertiginous self-reflection of her aesthetic vocabulary -- the sacred geometry of her own point of view. Thus, Kolo’s artwork celebrates natural world, depicting more the forces and the rhythms that motion it than its external aspects. This is how the artist demonstrates her profound understanding of nature -- what Kandinsky would call her “inner necessity.”

When the artist utilizes her distinctive technique for more figurative expression, flowers grow from a Rorschach action painting burst with saturated colors, depicting a life that would never be still. Points, dots, and spots in a multitude of sizes and colors, are so vibrant you could drown in their "farandole".

Stepping back and forth seems the best way to explore Kolo’s work. Her mesmerizing painting demands the eyes to pay attention to the big picture as much as the details. Like one could see the entire forest inside the patterns of a single leaf, the parts shaping the whole and vice versa, the multiplicity leading to unity…

Achille Morio