Barbara Macfarlane is a painter who captures the essence - and the drama - of wide-open spaces, for the contrasting elements of land and sky and water, for how they take the light, for how they meet and merge. She searches out these things across a wide variety of terrains: the coastline of West Sussex to the sun-flooded hills of the South of France; the Greek islands; the Outer Hebrides; and, more recently, in the historic maps and panoramas of Early Modern townscapes.
Her medium is pigment on paper. The two elements share an almost equal importance in her art. Working often on a large scale, she makes the texture of her hand-made rag-papers play a leading part in each image. Contrasted against the intensity of oil paint, the lambent brightness of water-colour, the calligraphy of charcoal lines or scratched marks, these artfully deployed expanses of naked paper provide both a unity and a luminosity to Macfarlane's work.
In the summer of 2012 Macfarlane began investigating antique maps from the 18th and 19th centuries and has used these as starting points for her new work. Edward Weller's map of London of 1862 was the inspiration for the Red London series, which was swiftly followed by series investigating maps of Paris and New York.
In November 2013, Macfarlane sold out her first solo show at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, New York. A recent painting, 'Midnight Manhattan II' (2017), was recently featured in the Royal Academy's 2018 Summer Exhibition.