The Sculpture & Photography
of Genevieve Willson Barnhart
A rare retrospective exhibition by Sebastopol artist Genevieve Willson Barnhart will be presented at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts beginning October 25, 2018. Featuring Barnhart’s bronze sculpture, jewelry, and black and white photography, this show charts an artistic career spanning more than 80 years.
Influenced by trips to medieval pilgrimage sites in Spain, France and Portugal with her husband Raymond Barnhart, her earlier sculptures are small environments, with figures that suggest the human condition. In the late 1980’s her work began to evolve. Undulating curves, hollows, and secret places continued to reflect the nature and spirit of place, while helmets, towers, ladders and stairs began to appear. As always, her sculpture continued to be informed by her manipulation of the wax sculpting material and her memories of architecture and carvings along medieval Pilgrimage routes.
Barnhart’s black and white photographs, developed and printed in her own home darkroom, include long-forgotten Romanesque churches, stone monasteries in the Pyrenees and many medieval sites visited during her extensive travels. A small selection of her large collection of Sonoma County artist portraits will also be included in this show.
Genevieve Barnhart, born in Hollister, CA in 1922, began engraving silver and sculpting in her teens. Joining the Navy in 1943, she became an aircraft instrument repair technician. She later attended Dominican College on the GI Bill and headed the Art Department at Mt Angel College in Oregon in the 1950’s. In the mid-sixties she studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, creating lost wax cast bronze and aluminum sculpture.
In 1965 Barnhart met and married artist Raymond Barnhart. The couple settled in Sebastopol in 1968, building studios and the home where she still resides.