Vera Barnett developed three distinct series of paintings to embody the meaning of an artistic and domestic life at Home - Portraits, Still Lifes, and Pets. Each series is anchored by a larger thematic painting and surrounded by miniature paintings - all created in a two-step process. First, Barnett fabricates her subject as a stage set made of cardboard, sewn fabric, and found objects. Then, she makes a painting from her construction in a trompe l’oeil manner.
Her series of Portraits represent family life - herself, her son, and grandchildren. Childlike sketches on cardboard easels reference the budding of an artist's self-knowledge. At the age of 3, Barnett decided to be an artist, and still has vivid recall of the drawings she saw and made before entering kindergarten.
Barnett's Still Life paintings embody the things we bring into our home. However, with an irreverent eye, Barnett selects everyday objects which remind her of other things: a pepper under a light bulb becomes a reclining sunbather and a radish becomes a plumed bird.
In the playful series of Pets entitled "When the Cat’s Away" we see that our homes are never truly asleep and often beyond our control. Barnett says, "You may own your home, but other life forms share your house. While my husband's cat Taco is asleep, I imagine lively mice beginning to play in a halo of small paintings."
Vera Barnett earned a 4-year certificate at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 1981. In the mid-1980's, Vera Barnett and her husband, artist Jack Barnett, moved to Grandview, Texas. This is her third solo exhibition at Valley House Gallery.