P a i n t i n g


I make small-scale, square, colorful paintings. My imagery is rooted in observation and it departs from it. I like to call attention to the commonplace and the local. I look where others don’t. I choose to paint ordinary situations and particular places by manipulating color, shape, and composition in such a way that suggest the possibility of multiple interpretations. The way I paint is driven by my interest in abstraction as economy of expression, and by my fascination with the dual role that color can play both as content and as structure in a painting. I use color to create space.


My ongoing project, Painting[s] from Recollection, comprises sets of paintings made in various places; taken as a whole, the aggregate of small-scale paintings assumes a large scale and, at the same time, the parts encourage intimate interaction.


“The works in the ‘Recollection’ series are untitled (except by number and place-name), and the associations that we might make with their origin offer us the pleasure of inventing titles of our own. Leaving that effort to the viewer, Barbara Marks signals her commitment to the independence of her paintings from a fixed interpretation—in favor of a continuum of meaning.” —Rebecca Allan, [excerpt from Painting[s] from Recollection catalogue essay]


D r a w i n g


Drawing is my habit. I draw every day, any place, and everywhere. Much of my imagery comes from direct observation, but some of my drawings have moved into the realm of memory and imagination. I draw mostly with an extra-superfine black Indian ink pen, and sometimes with colored ink, in accordion-fold albums. Each album, when expanded, contains twenty-four accordion pages on one continuous sheet of drawing paper, 123 inches long x 8.125 inches high, folded into a hardbound cover. I’ve filled 275+ albums with 2750+ feet of drawings.


B o x e s


I draw and paint on collapsed, disassembled packaging—formerly containing such ordinary consumables as bar soap, chocolate, tissues, crackers, personal care items, and so on—creatively reusing something meant to be disposed of by reëmploying (or upcycling) it as the substrate for drawings and paintings.I am attracted to the asymmetry of a flattened container and its complex of planes, tabs, flaps, score-lines and fold-bumps that comprise the geometry of a box.


D e a r ________


“ Dear _____ ” is an ongoing series of daily drawings and messages on blank postcards. The intended recipient has been redacted throughout.

n.b.: Organized in descending chronological order; to view a slideshow of the drawings from the outset of the project, visit the "About" section of this website.


T h e  B l u e   C i t y ,  ( L a  C i t t à  B l u )


. . . is a place of my imagination—a supremely fictive and extinct city that is both frozen in time and actively alive in the present. Its invention and visual realization originated during a richly productive time as a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome, December 2015 / January 2016.


C a s e t t a  S u i t e


On my daily walks along the strada vecchia between Martano and Martignano I am drawn to the little structures in the olive groves. I am attracted to their simplicity, their utilitarian nature, and the way they are situated just so in the terrain—and what this says about the intersection of humankind and the land. These are not intrinsically landscape paintings. On a certain level, they represent my observation and interpretation of “here” from the point of view of an outsider. On a deeper level, they represent the essence of my time living here. In this suite of paintings, I explore concepts of lyricism and abstraction. Color is my way of describing a sense of place—in a subterranean way. Puglia. Fall 2010 / Spring 2011.