Women of Vision: 2012 Barbara Gesshel at Hidden River Gallery
Barbara Gesshel, “I’m a painter and printmaker and a muralist. My paintings have mostly been skies and clouds, water recently. But, the prints are mono-prints, I also do woodcuts. I was a printmaking major at UArts and then traveled to Norway where I was was studying the work of Edvard Munch and then I matriculated at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art and then I went to the University of Oslo to learn Norwegian. Which, I’m still fluent in.”DoN asked how Barbara Gesshel ended up in Philadelphia? ”Well, I came back,” ”Everyone comes back!”, DoN interrupted, “Not really. My father had given me money for a Eurail pass and return passage. And then I found out I had to pay him back.” DoN, noted, “That’s a Women’s History moment.”
“When I came back, the school I was teaching in, I worked so I could get back to Norway. I literally just fell in love with the country. I became a painter and a printmaker when I came back, very much influenced by Munch’s color in his later work…Munch was very funny. He would continue to repeat a theme, the kiss, the scream, the bridge, vampire, these were his early ones and he would paint them in many different ways. His later work, he did murals at the University in a series of huge murals and he did these paintings of the people, the peasants, the workers. He did these larger than life paintings that literally have coming out in a multitude of colors that you wouldn’t think to use for skin color.”
“Now, I’m working at a University City High School mentoring program doing murals and they’ve never really painted. The other artist is having them work on parachute cloth and they’re making little words that represent things. And we find we’re working on masonite panels, this is all their work, I show them and they do it so that they’re actually using color as much as possible. Each kid has a brush and a pan of all the colors, one on top of the other, the concept is it starts at the top and then moves down organically. Nothing is set in stone. And therefore there is no such thing as a mistake, the greatest thing you can teach a kid.”
Women of Vision: 2012 at the Hidden River Art Gallery and Salon, 525 South 4th Street, Philadelphia hosted by Debra Leigh Scott through April 30, 2012.
DoN will be posting stories about the other featured artists Pamela Peitzman, Madeline Bates, Lauren Acton, Lilliana Didovic and Maria Lourdes Soloman on upcoming DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog posts.
Read more about Women of Vision 2012 at Side Arts Philadelphia Art Blog
Read more about Gesshel at SideArts.com
Photographs by DoN Brewer