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Longboat Key Thursday, Apr. 30, 2009 13 years ago

Barbara Harrison shows outside-the-box artistry

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Barbara L. Harrison thought of Brancusi’s abstract sculptures as her friends. They lived at the Guggenheim Museum, in Manhattan, N.Y., next door to her childhood home. Dressed in her Brownies uniform, Harrison visited them day after day as an elementary-school student.

Today, Harrison views the art of sculpture as more than a friend.

“It’s experiments with form in space,” Harrison said. “That’s really what sculpture is.”

Harrison, a Longboat Key resident for eight years, will display her work from Friday, May 1, through Wednesday, May 20, in a show at the Longboat Key Center for the Arts, a Division of Ringling College of Art and Design. The show is Harrison’s first at the Arts Center.

Harrison creates her work in series, sculpting several pieces as a way of thinking about an idea or theme.

Her “Box” series consists of open-form brass sculptures, each depicting a box being forced open by a different object. The purpose is to create a sense of conflict, Harrison said, because a box is generally a quiet, static object.

“The box is being pushed open into a more active, intrusive space,” she said.

In one of Harrison’s most recent series, “Earth Events,” she shows “the things that have happened to our little planet.” A wall sculpture, “Dust Storm,” portrays one of the largest sand storms ever photographed in the Sahara Desert. All of the pieces in the “Earth Events” series were inspired either by photographs or scenes at the Hayden Planetarium, in New York City.

The show also features some of Harrison’s early, stand-alone, stone-and-wood carvings. Eventually, she switched to welding because it allowed her to build up instead of take away from the medium.

Harrison’s Arts Center show features 55 pieces, which she estimates come from six or seven of her series.

Harrison’s eclectic interests inspire her work: geology, archaeology and geometry, to name a few.

“I wouldn’t say that there’s one common theme that runs through my work,” she said.

Barbara L. Harrison: Meet the Artist and Opening Reception
When: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 1
Where: Longboat Key Center for the Arts, a Division of Ringling College of Art and Design, 6860 Longboat Drive S.

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