Land Shapes

MARCH 9 - APRIL 20, 2019

Groveland Gallery | 25 Groveland Terrace  Mpls, MN 55403

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 9, 2-5 pm

Barbara McIlrath’s current body of work is centered on two locations: the village of Old Frontenac which sits along the Mississippi and the rural Hicks Valley which neighbors McIlrath’s studio and home in Pepin. For McIlrath, the artistic process begins when she first becomes aware of a unique feature in the landscape. She then spends time lingering and wrestling with her observations. Ultimately, McIlrath comes full circle by creating the painting and revealing something new.

As she explains, “My recent paintings are like landscape puzzles of the rural valley outside my studio window. They contain shapes of prairie and nearby farm fields. I try to solve the mystery of these scenes by taking the pieces apart and putting them back together. It’s trial and error…over and over, with different compositions, different color harmonies, different scales. … The myriad of puzzles in these places will forever keep me wondering.”

The artist will be present at the opening reception Saturday, March 9 from 2-5 pm. The opening reception and exhibition runs concurrently with Painting in Place by Fred Anderson. Both shows continue through April 20, 2019.

The Modernist Eye


Artistry / Bloomington Art Center Bloomington, MN | Atrium Gallery

Inspired by the seasonal changes in the sky, land, and water along the Mississippi and near Lake Pepin, artist Barbara McIlrath is devoted to perceiving the world more deeply and revealing it to the viewer through her lush paintings using oil paint, bees wax, Belgian linen, pasted paper, graphite, and charcoal.

Specifically, McIlrath is drawn to and inspired by Frontenac State Park, the village of Old Frontenac (Florence Township Beach), and Hicks Valley near Pepin, Wisconsin. While working outside she uses her “modernist eye” to reveal simplified, improvisational interpretations of these special places. The resulting work can range from recognizable images of sky, land and water to completely abstract compositions discovered in the process of interpreting what is seen.

From the small, intimate drawings and paintings done “en plain aire” to the final large canvases completed in the studio the viewer will get a unique view into the artist’s process as well as a chance to savor the final product.

Leaning Into the Light

MARCH 18 - APRIL 22, 2017

Carl Oltvedt & Barbara McIlrath

This two-person exhibition by Carl Oltvedt and Barbara McIlrath focuses on the lifelong affinity both artists share for nature. Over their respective careers, McIlrath and Oltvedt have remained dedicated to representing their rich encounters with nature through painting and drawing. The title for this show comes from an interview with the environmental writer Barry Lopez, “There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.”

St. Paul, Highland Villager Newspaper features Barbara McIlrath