Distinguished Lecture | Barbara Ernst Prey

Barbara Prey
Barbara Prey
Barbara Prey
Barbara Prey

ABOUT THE EVENT

Distinguished Lecture | Barbara Ernst Prey

Join artist Barbara Ernst Prey for a lecture on her work in HANDLED WITH CARE: Shaker Master Crafts and the Art of Barbara Prey.

Barbara Ernst Prey Artist’s Statement:

b. 1957, New York, NY

Lives and works in Oyster Bay, NY; Williamstown, MA; and Tenants Harbor, ME

Prey specializes in creating intricate watercolor paintings at monumental scale. Working primarily on-site, often out of doors, she captures the built and natural environments with a vibrancy that belies the challenges of translating light, temperature, and space into two dimensions. Prey draws inspiration from a diverse range of sources: her work chronicles not only the shifting physical environments of Long Island, Western Massachusetts, and rural Maine, where she regularly works, but also the architectural and natural sites encountered on her travels through Asia, Europe, and across North America. With an academic background in art history and religion, Prey incorporates into her visual practice diverse references to the rich traditions of American and European art. Her layered, luminous, and nuanced paintings and drawings speak to issues of gender, climate and ecology, and spiritual wonder. Prey’s practice evokes the seemingly everyday to push the boundaries of what her chosen medium can do. Her 2017 site-specific commission for MASS MoCA, Building 6, remains the largest known watercolor painting created for public display at eight by fifteen feet (244 x 457 cm).

In addition to the MASS MoCA commission, Prey has been commissioned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as well as the White House (for the 43rd presidential administration); she has created site-specific work for NASA and the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Her drawings and illustrations have been published in The New Yorker magazine and The New York Times, among other publications. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including grants from the Henry Luce Foundation and San Francisco Art Institute, a Fulbright Scholarship, a presidential appointment to the National Council on the Arts, and the New York State Senate “Women of Distinction” Award. Her work is in the permanent collections of many American museums and institutions, such as the National Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, MASS MoCA, the New York Historical Society, the Farnsworth Art Museum, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, and the White House (where she is one of two living female artists in the collection), as well as many private collections. Selected regularly for the U.S. Art in Embassies program, Prey’s work has been on display in over one hundred American embassies and consulates worldwide, including those in Paris, Hong Kong, Madrid, and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, making her a global ambassador for contemporary American art.

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