New Exhibit: Barbara Bucknall, “Between Earth & Heaven”
“I was born just outside London, England, on June 8 1933, but brought up in Birmingham where I paid regular visits to the municipal Art Gallery and Museum with my brothers and sisters, two of whom have become professional artists. One of them, Malcolm Bucknall, is quite well known. He was pleased when I came back to art after a career in university teaching, most recently teaching French at Brock University. He says that I draw like Marc Chagall, Odilon Redon, and William Blake. I only started showing my work quite recently.
I got my education at Oxford University in England and Northwestern University, Illinois. I taught for a number of years at the University of Illinois before coming to Brock University in St. Catharines.
I also collect other people’s art, particularly that of my brother Malcolm. When I was in Paris in 1975-1976, I acquired three pictures by Basil Ivan Rakoczi, who has since become very well known. He was also a friend of Samuel Beckett and Robert Graves, but I didn’t meet either of them. I did however meet the composer John Cage at the University of Illinois, and spent some time with him in the late 60s. I liked his ideas but not his music. He introduced me to the I Ching.
I have been drawing and painting since I was a child and this is emotionally necessary to me. When I was a child in wartime England, my teacher wrote a letter to the authorities saying I deserved to have a paint box of my own. My father had to show this letter to buy me one as everything was rationed. My drawings represent scenes and figures drawn from the imagination rather in the style of children’s book illustration. They have been described as childlike and joyful, and show the pleasure I take in doing them.
I look forward to showing and selling my pictures as that leaves room in my house for more. A lot of the time I don’t even know what I’m going to draw but just let my hand move freely over the paper. However, the result is a coherent, recognizable design. I draw as if in a lucid dream. Welcome to my dream world.
In the last couple of years, I have had a picture in the St. Catharines municipal Red Exhibition and a one-woman show at the Kennedy Art Gallery. My first show was at Strega Bistro, five or six years ago. I presented a one-woman show at Niagara Artists Centre, “Angels and Easter Eggs,” which ran from January 17-January 30, 2015.
My show at Arts Place, Port Colborne is entitled “Somewhere Between Earth and Heaven.” I selected this title because I am so concerned with the spirits around us, from the spirits of plants to the heavenly angels. I am very interested in anything spiritual, psychic and religious, and have written poetry about it.”