From California to Germany

Barbara Wolf’s work reflects a cultural colorfulness evidencing the manifold stations of her life, a history of genuine American mobility, which entails numerous stopovers before finally settling in Germany. The fleeting medium of Watercolor captures these spoors.

The generation of a new idea may be sparked by a strong, colourful impulse, which then takes on form. Abstract compositions trigger meditative processes. In an age of visual overkill these works offer an opportunity to slow down perception. Rigorous, architectural structures make up the framework for bold fields of color. Labyrinth-like figures or rhythmical rows define the structure; the pigments describe the body. Together, they create a tension between color and form. The latter creates order, whereas the intense colors transport an emotional, spiritual factor. Both elements in conjunction produce a sensual Minimalism. Malewitsch’s Black Square bears fruit.

Numerous glazes of watercolor pigment are applied to handmade paper, wood or canvas, each layer building up on the surface, until an uncommon intensity is achieved. In contrast to oil or acrylic paint, watercolour is comparatively more difficult to control because the results are virtually irreversible, it defies corrections and the flowing pigments take on a life of their own. Yet, it is the inherent translucency of the material—light penetrates the layers of paint and reflects from the white surface below—which defines the painting’s brilliance. A traditional medium is newly explored. The layers of transparent pigments congeal to produce an intense rush of color which impels the viewer look below the surface. Optical Chromatics is not the primary subject here—but exploring the depths of color, fathoming its layers, engaging in an exercise in sensitivity.

On occasion, the handmade paper is perforated, to reveal a subterranean layer. Some works are literally transformed into three-dimensional objects, whether through cutting and folding, or by actually building up the surface with  pigment-infused  paper-pulp. In recent work, cartographical references appear, fragmented and newly arranged landscapes, sometimes reminiscent of figurative images. A haptic, painterly sensualness suggests evocative themes difficult to grasp; atmospheric, underlying references are anticipated. Titles reaffirm the narrative element. While contemplating abstract work, viewers cannot resort to familiar deciphering techniques; they must rely on emotional intuition, and delve upon an inner journey.


Barbara Wolf                                                                                  

1957 born in Burtonwood, England; formative years in USA and France
1981-82 Fine Arts, University of California, Davis - AA
1982-87 Academy for Fine Arts, Mainz - Staatsexamen
Since 1988 Member of the Interessengemeinschaft Duisburger Artists
1999-2014 Further Education Seminars for Teachers, Austausch & Begegnung, Dortmund
1999-2015 Haniel Manager Seminars „Warehouse Creative Workshop“ in the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum and Haniel Academy, Duisburg-Ruhrort
1989-2016 Museum educator in the Wilhelm-Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg
1989-2016 Teacher of Watercolor Classes at the local Community College, Duisburg


1977  University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
1981   University of California, Davis
1981   Mittelrheinisches Landesmuseum, Mainz
1987   „Ecce Homo“  Outdoor sculpture for the Katharinen Church, ev. Kirchentag, Frankfurt
1987   Kunstverein Coburg (K)
1988   Gruppe 50 Wiesbaden, Kunststation Kleinsassen (K)
1988   VI. IG Exhibition, Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Duisburg (K)
1989   City Hall, Gelnhausen
1989   Erbacher Hof, Diözese, Mainz (K)
1989   Maximlian Church, Düsseldorf
1990   VII. IG Exhibition, Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Duisburg (K)
1991   Art from Glas, Derix, Wiesbaden-Taunusstein (K)
1993   IX. IG Exhibition, Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Duisburg
1997   Hölscher Constructions, Duisburg
2002   XII. IG Exhibition, Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Duisburg (K)
2002   Kunst-Spektrum GKK, Krefeld
2002   IG Exhibition, Gallery Rheinhausen, Duisburg
2007   Kunstinzwischenzeit, Ausstellungsprojekt S. Blatt, Duisburg 
2007   XIV. IG Exhibition, Cubus Kunsthalle, Duisburg (K)
2009   XV. IG Exhibition, Wilhelm-Lehmbruck-Museum, Duisburg (K)
2009  “Stichprobe“,  Kunsthaus Weidenweg, Duisburg

Works can be found in private and public collections.

Stained Glass in Architecture

1988   Chapel of St. Engelbert, Caritasheim, Mülheim/Ruhr
1994   St. Maria Immaculata, Hannover-Melllendorf
1997   Foyer of Hölscher Constructions, Duisburg
2001   St. Anna, Duisburg-Neudorf
2002   Chapel Meditation Room, Sana Kliniken, Duisburg
2003   Muslim Meditation Room, Sana Kliniken, Duisburg
2016-2017 St. Augustinus Memory Center, Neuss