Barbara Rae CBE RA has taken inspiration from the atmospheric and mysterious colours of Scotland and Ireland in her latest silkscreen prints. Rae’s paintings combine the influence of landscape and travel with painterly abstraction. When Rae was awarded a travel scholarship in 1966, it unleashed a love of travel that remains with her. Although she does not like the term landscape painter, the importance of place is very apparent in her works; in particular, the human traces and patterns of history that are left on a landscape. Spain is Rae’s favourite destination, providing her with endless inspiration as we can see in her latest work. Rae’s printmaking has been integral to her artistic activity since her student days. The way she conceives and works on her monoprints, screenprints and etchings complements and informs her approach to painting. The discipline imposed by these media and the unique opportunities offered by them create a set of possibilities, which stimulate her vision of the world, whether she is drawing, painting, making prints, or simply observing.
Barbara Rae studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1961 to 1965. She was awarded a travel scholarship, enabling her to work in France and Spain in 1966. She went on to have a teaching career in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow.
Solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally have been a regular feature of Rae’s upward trajectory. Her work features in many private collections in Britain, Europe and the USA, as well as in many public and corporate collections. Recognised nationally and internationally, Barbara Rae was elected president of the Society of Scottish Artists in 1983; made a Member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1992; became a Royal Academician in 1996; a Member of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland in 1995 and a Member of the Board of the British School at Rome in 1998. She was awarded a CBE and received an Honorary Doctorate from Napier University, Edinburgh in 1999. She lives and works in Edinburgh.
‘Ice Wall – Avanaata’ and ‘Arctic Glacier’ are two prints made by Barbara Rae following her trips to the Arctic.
From 2015, Rae undertook four voyages following the route of the fabled North West Passage. The search for the elusive route to the east took many lives and was an obsession by countries eager to be first to form a new trade route to eastern markets. Rae followed the route of the English explorer John Franklin, whose futile and ill-prepared expedition ended in the loss of all lives. Dr John Rae was sent out to find what fate befell them, and this became the motivation for the artist’s own travels.
“I was fascinated by this immense, desolate landscape, the home of the Inuit, and the thought of these English seamen, completely unaware of their chances of survival in this harsh, alien environment. These majestic immense glaciers and icebergs in their quiet, silent world were compelling dramatic presences which in my mind contained the history of the futile struggle to tame the Arctic.” – Barbara Rae
Sign up to receive our newsletter
Be the first to know about new artwork, exhibitions, events and artists!