Press Articles


Editor Carrie Dampier’s article from the August 3, 2006 edition of the Whitewater Register

Headline: Stolen art chair returned unharmed

One of the dozens of decorative chairs gracing Whitewater’s downtown lampposts was stolen sometime in the night July 27.

By Monday morning, it was back in the Whitewater Arts Alliance’s possession.

The chair was made by local artist Barb Grant for the arts alliance’s annual community art project. She dubbed the chair “The Yoga Chair.”

According to Dawn Hunter, arts alliance board member, the chair was returned to the Whitewater Police Department the morning of July 31. As it was sitting in her house a short while later, she said it was in good shape.

“I would be surprised if it spent time in a dumpster,” said Hunter.

According to Hunter, two men returned the chair to the police about 9:00am Monday. She credits a poster she made and posted near the spot the chair was taken for its quick return; that, and a $100 reward.

The chair was hanging from a lamppost immediately outside The Downstairs Sports Bar & Grill, 204 Main St. Hunter said she hung the poster that advertised the reward outside of the bar, hoping someone who knew about the chair would see it and act on the reward.

As of Monday, she had not made contact with the men who returned the chair.

Grant reported that she wasn’t too troubled about the theft of the chair.

“I wasn’t too upset about my Yoga Chair missing – just curious about what happened.” Grant told the Register. “I thought maybe it was blown down by those ferocious winds we had in that bad storm last week, but Dawn told me that upon closer examination, it was evident that it had been removed by someone.”

The chairs decorating downtown are part of the arts alliance’s annual fund-raiser; they are auctioned off at the end of the summer, with all proceeds going to the alliance’s coffers.

Grant said she was glad the chair was returned in good shape.

“The reason I wasn’t too worked up over (the chair being stolen) is because, once I finished painting it and turned it in, it became the property of the Whitewater Arts Alliance to auction off at its fund-raiser this fall.” she said, adding that she’s glad it’s “in good shape so it can join the other chairs in bringing in the much needed funds for the arts alliance. I believe the City of Whitewater will benefit greatly from this organization.

Hunter echoed those sentiments, saying the chairs can be a major financial boost to the alliance.

We had one go for $400 in last year’s auction,” Hunter explained, “so that’s quite a theft (from the alliance). It’d our major fund-raiser, so it could be a big (financial) hole for us.”

Hunter said the chair will be returned to its lamppost as soon as the heat wave is over.

Grant did her own speculating, and came up with a true artist’s version of events.

“My imagination has played around with why someone would steal the Yoga Chair,” she said. “I pictured a romantic couple standing beneath it one starry night looking up and seeing the hearts radiating out of the seat of it. Love strikes. One of them sneaks back later with a partner in crime to climb up and cut down the prized possession to have as a souvenir.”

“How’s that for a story?”

Quiet Interference

Excerpted from the June 7–13, 2006 edition of The Resorter Reporter / Door County Advocate.

Headline: Gallery Ten artist remembers friend in new show

When Susan Scully, an artist and close friend of Whitewater painter Barbara Grant and Gallery Ten owner Charlene Berg, unexpectedly passed away, a phrase she once uttered – “quiet interference” – took on greater meaning.

The phrase was initially explored by Grant, who began to decrypt its meaning through a series of paintings. Shock and grief following Sculley’s death pushed her to reflect on its meaning with a much higher intensity.

Berg proposed to exhibit the resultant effort in a show dedicated to the memory of their mutual friend. Grant’s exhibit “Quiet Interference,” along with an exhibit of new work by Jennifer Lee, opens June 10 with a reception at Charlene’s Gallery Ten in Gills Rock.

“This artistic journey began during a vacation to the California vineyards and coastal areas with my husband,” Grant said. “Our photographs allowed me to plot out landscapes on canvas – a sort of open venue for discovering the meaning of ‘quiet interference.’ “I began to understand it as another plane or atmosphere, sort of like the heavens surrounding us. I positioned a figure within the landscapes to represent an awareness of a loving force of energy that we cannot see; incorporating telephone poles and their lines, power lines, and fence posts to symbolize connectivity to this other plane. I placed road signs and dividers to impart a yearning for divine direction.”

Many more changes took place on her path to completion. For a time she struggled, unable to proceed.

“I was thankful the day I felt the urge to introduce more color and create textures to portray vibrations of energy on the canvas,” Grant said. “I felt moved to complete the work and quietly continue the journey down life’s uncertain paths.”

The reception for “Quiet Interference” by Barbara Grant and the work of Jennifer Lee runs from 5-7 p.m. June 10, at Charlene’s Gallery Ten, 12625 State 42, Gills Rock. Both artists will be on hand. Their show runs through July 14.

Whitewater High School Whippet Mural

Excerpts from front-page article in the August 24, 2005 edition of the Daily Jefferson County Union Organizer newspaper:

Headline: New Whippet Mural on Whitewater gym wall

The Whippet Booster Club and its sponsors commissioned artists Barb Grant and Molly Gunter to paint a large and vibrant mural of the Whippet mascot bursting through bricks in the wall. “We spent over a year-and-a-half trying to find somebody who could actually do the work for us, and we found Barb Grant and Molly Gunter, who expressed a lot of interest in doing the project,” Booster Club President Dr. Gerald Theune said. “And they took over from there.”

Grant had worked with Gunter, an art major, on restoring the “Prairie Tillers” mural in downtown Whitewater last summer. “While we were doing it, we decided we had to make this thing much more tough,” Gunter said. “ People needed to be intimidated just by walking into the gym, so we made the claws sharper and we added more definition to the dog and more falling bricks.”

“With everything we added, the mural went from being more contained to being very explosive,” Grant said.

"When we were working on it one day, there were some baseball players from outside the Whitewater area who came into the gym seeking shelter from a storm that blew in,” Grant said. “We asked them, if they were athletes on the opposing team, would this frighten them. They said ‘oh yeah.’ They thought the whole thing was really cool.

“I am really proud of it, and I think it will be a great thing for the students,” Grant said.


Excerpts from the page 3 article in the December 4, 2003 edition of the Whitewater Register, by editor, Kim McDarison..

Headline: Portrait celebrating women over 40 created by area artist

A conversation with artist Barbara Grant, 52, Whitewater is creative in its own right: She is well spoken, yet eager, even rushed to convey her thoughts. Organized in her thinking, yet spontaneous in the way she transitions from one idea to the next.

In a word, she is busy. And like any busy artist, she is no stranger to having her artwork displayed. Since graduating in 1989 from Northern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, her work has been included in some 29 shows. But the one she describes as being the most fun is also her most recent.

Entitled “40 x 40”, an exhibition of self-portraits by women over the age of 40, the show displays the work of 19 Chicago-area artists. It opened on November 14, 2003 at the Apollo Theatre in conjunction with the musical Menopause.

“My friend Tina . . . is an avid birder and she sort of got me hooked.”

“She would teach me things about birds and she got me hooked on Wild Birds Unlimited so now my house is surrounded by bird feeders,” Grant said.

She spoke about her recent self-portrait included in the 40 x 40 show.

“For some reason, I had the idea that I wanted hummingbird eyes,” said Grant. She also wanted input and suggestions from her friends. As the canvas progressed, Grant would take the photographs of it and bring them into work.

“I would take a digital image of the canvas to get Tina’s input, and other co-workers. I thought if I just did it myself, it would become too serious, so it became a joint effort.”

“The hummingbird eyes could be because, since May, I’ve been staring at them through my kitchen window,” she admitted.

The Textures of Chile

Press Release Charlene’s Gallery Ten, Door County, Gills Rock, WI

Barbara Grant returns to Charlene’s Gallery Ten with an exhibit that runs from August 19 through September 22, 2002. This time her artwork is accompanied by her husband’s photography.

Bob Grant’s Logistics Consulting business took him to Chile’s capital city, Santiago, beginning in March of 1998. Barbara accompanied him, and during their free time they ventured through Chile’s coastal cites and mountain ranges. They roamed the parks and the cityscape of Santiago – Bob with camera and Barbara with sketchbook and journal. This duet show portrays part of their experience in this intriguing South American country.

Barbara’s paintings and drawings focus on two aspects of her observations. One is the political division within the country. To portray this she uses, as a metaphor, horses roaming hills on either side of a clay road (a typical scene in the Chilean countryside). Her other focus is of another common scene in Santiago – that of the many lovers who enjoy the romantic, beautiful parks located throughout their city.

Though much of Chile offers breathtaking beauty, Bob’s photography illustrates the tendency for his eye to capture an arresting image. His group of photographs weaves a particular texture of Chilean life.

Charlene’s Gallery Ten will host a reception for the artists on Saturday, August 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. Bob and Barbara will be present to discuss their work and their South American experience. The public is invited to attend.

The Peninsula Pulse newspaper, August 11th – August 25th, 2002

Charlene’s Gallery Ten exhibits contemporary original art and fine crafts, eclectic antiques and whimsical yard and garden sculptures. Four galleries on three floors accessed by a tower spiral staircase.

The gallery will host a reception for guest painter Barbara Grant and her husband Bob Grant, a photographer. They are from Whitewater and their work is inspired by their travels to Chile.

The reception will be held on Saturday, August 19 from 5 – 7 PM. The artists will discuss their work during the reception. The general public is welcome. The exhibit will remain on display through September 22.

Alchemy ~ Amulets ~ Altars

Article from the Hudson Star – Observer, Hudson, WI newspaper, March 1, 2001

Headline: Thirty area artists exhibit mixed media

Alchemy, Amulets and Altars, an exhibition of work by over 30 regional artists, runs Monday, March 5 – Sunday, April 15, at the Phipps Center. The exhibition features work in a range of media that transforms and transcends the materials used, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. There will be a reception featuring a series of special events Sunday, March 18, from 2-4 p.m.

This exhibition of mixed-media work was curated by Loris Sofia Gregory and Glen Riddle, who in 1998 organized Passionate Obsessions, an exhibition featuring 54 regional artists who share a passion for obsessive processes and extravagant embellishment.

According to Gregory and Riddle, “The artists included in this show transform and transcend the materials they use, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. The Artists’ expressions range from sacred to secular to silly, including a cross-cultural altar devoted to beloved teachers and mentors, sacramental objects and totems assembled from thrift shop finds, a beaded memorial to a conversion of faith, a poignant film celebrating a grandfather’s birthday and a shrine dedicated to road rage.”

Barbara’s piece included in this exhibit was “Rake”, acrylic on canvas with rake & other found objects, measuring 51” x 41”.

El Supermercado

The Fine Arts Guild website announcement, March 22, 1999

El Supermercado:

Barbara documents the simple aspects of life in Chile. A look at their supermarkets.

Barbara has been following her husband Bob around the world for several years now and sometimes winds up in some interesting places. Her latest “home” is in Santiago, Chile and the five pages of art that she sent to us just had to be posted. It’s easier to appreciate what we have here when we hear what is available elsewhere in the world.

Bottle & Soul

Article from the Resorter Reporter / Door County Advocate newspaper, May 29, 1998 edition.

Headline: Gallery reception for ‘Bottle & Soul’

Charlene’s Gallery Ten will host a reception for guest artist Barbara Grant on Saturday, May 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.

Grant, of Whitewater, will be present to discuss her work. For the past year, she has been exploring the monoprint, an artist printmaking technique for creating one-of-a-kind prints using the same matrix. She finds it an exciting way to take ideas and push them past her original focus. Because it can be difficult to control the outcome of what she sends through one end of the press, the surprise element often takes her in directions she never imagined.

The series of 10 monoprints, titled “Bottle & Soul”, is about her inquiry into what happens to our souls after our bodies die. The bottle in the prints symbolizes our body and soul; sometimes it s depicted as a solid form; sometimes translucent, ghost-like. Likewise, the tree in each of these compositions is dormant.

Grant received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Northern Illinois University, and continues to study at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She has exhibited in solo, group, and juried exhibitions in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Colorado, and is currently living with her husband Bob in Santiago, Chile.

Leenhouts Gallery, First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee

Press Release September 11, 1997

Oil paintings and mixed media works by Milwaukee artist Barbara Grant are featured in the Leenhouts Gallery of the First Unitarian Society, 1342 North Astor St., Milwaukee, WI through October 24.

Grant has a degree in fine arts from Northern Illinois University and has continued her art studies at Rockford College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has exhibited at several local galleries in Illinois and Wisconsin, including a solo show at Constance Lindholm Fine Arts Gallery in 1996.

The Leenhouts Gallery provides an inclusive exhibition space for local emerging and established artists. Thematically, the work represented often resonates with Unitarian Universalist principles such as those that champion the inherent dignity and worth of every person and advocacy for tolerance and diversity.

Under Wraps

A film about going with the flow

Letter to Barbara from Teresa & Penny, Starry Night Productions, Inc., 339-163 West Hastings Street, Vancouver BC Canada V6B 1H5, dated November 29, 1996:

Dear Barbara,

We are so pleased to be sending you a copy of the finished film. We hope you are as happy with “UNDER WRAPS” as we are. We had over thirty hours of footage that we had to narrow down to 56 minutes – it was tremendous challenge!

We wanted to thank you very much for allowing us to include one of your paintings in our film. We felt concluding UNDER WRAPS with several images of menstruation is a great closure to a great mystery of how and why we treat menstruation as we do. As Judy Chicago states at the beginning of the film, “that which is not imaged is not considered important, even to us.” It was so encouraging to discover women like you who were exploring menstruation and imaging it so that others can begin to also acknowledge and explore it. We are big fans of your work and wish you the very best in your future work.

We have also included in this package a press kit and a few articles written in response to the film’s premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival in October. In the coming months we will send you any other reviews we receive during our upcoming broadcasts and will let you know when the film plays in your area.

Once again Barbara, thank you for your participation in the film. We look forward to receiving your feedback and keeping in touch with you.

The Moon in June

Reviewed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s art critic, James Auer, Wednesday, June 12, 1996.

Headline: Moon glows as symbol of life in art

The moon meanders through Barbara Grant’s solo exhibit of paintings and mixed-media works rather like a captive balloon, unifying the work thematically while allowing a broad diversity of materials and approaches.

Grant, whose lunar obsession dates back some 25 years, looks upon the moon as a metaphor for human growth and self-realization. It waxes and wanes in a state of continual flux, much like our beliefs and emotions.

Her show, as heartfelt as it is extensive, hangs through July 13 at Constance Lindholm Fine Art, 3955 N. Prospect Ave. It’s the kind of work that causes you to pause and consider. Its impact is understated, cumulative.

Sometimes Grant portrays the moon as a scientific challenge, a target of human ambition, as epitomized by astronauts’ footprints on lunar soil. Sometimes she shows it as the visual equivalent of the changes life demands of us.

Sometimes she paints it as an ironic counterpoint to human fallibility and weakness. At other moments she likens it to organized religion – the ability to penetrate a materialistic world and sense the creativity that underlies it.

If, indeed, Grant’s output has a single, overriding concern, it is the up-down, push-pull, positive-negative relationship between the moon and faith. The moon humanizes the universe. It is a universal given in a world torn by differences.

The artworks themselves, as might be expected, are a trifle uneven. In her anxiety to make an uplifting statement the artist occasionally lets her intuitions run amok. But in general the imagery is redeemed by its earnest, exploratory approach.

I particularly liked “Praying Lobsters,” a big-scale screen in which lobsters do obeisance to the phases of the moon. As Grant points out in an explanatory note, lobsters shed successive shells as they mature. So, in fact, do human beings.

I also admired “Waiting to be Moved,” a standing screen made up of 15 panels, each depicting a single boat that is, the artist hints, waiting for God to blow in its sails. There are, one suspects, countless people similarly poised for growth.

Equally didactic, yet not unpleasantly so, are “Crescent Sail,” which is enlivened by swirls of paint that would have done credit to Van Gogh, and “If I Could Just Touch the Edge of the Moon,” a screen which incorporates, among other materials, gingko leaves.

In the end, as Grant notes in her artist statement, the moon symbolizes hope. “Like God,” she explains, “it is always there even when not visible.” What Grant does not say, but which is implicit in the work, is that the moon will still be there long after we are gone.

The Harbinger, The Illinois Central College Student Newspaper, October 4, 1990, -2 articles-

Headline: Art Exhibit through Oct. 11

Books inspire former ICC art major’s expressive style work

Article by David Putney

Barbara Grant, a Rockford , IL artist and ICC graduate, has returned home in a one-woman art show of mixed media paintings on display through Oct.11 in the Art Gallery, rm. 240-A.

Grant incorporates everyday objects such as plates, necklaces, shells, and rakes into some of her paintings. Much of her work is religiously themed and contain nude women. Pastel colors are emphasized.

Grant is aware that some people don’t like her “distorted” style of art.

“I guess I would say it’s expressive. It usually confronts people. They’re not pretty pictures, so there are people who are turned off by it.”

Some of her paintings take a long time to complete, and end up several layers thick.

“It’s working it through, and working it through, until I get it resolved and I am satisfied.”

“Rake,” the last painting she completed for the ICC show is her favorite.

“I really like what was happening and where it is going to take me,” she said of “Rake.”

Her artistic influences come from many areas.

“To get my degree I had to study a lot of art history. There’s so many influences it’s hard to pick just one.”

Books also inspire her. “That’s what fuels my work, the things I read,” said Grant of her inspiration.

Grant often finds herself focusing on one area of influence at a time. For example, she is currently into Janis Joplin; reading her biographies and listening to her music.

The origin of her art is simple. “This (love for art) goes back to when I was a kid. I always knew I wanted to be an artist,” however, as Grant explained, “I ran into obstacles, I got sidetracked. I got married. I had kids.” All of these delayed her return to college.

She found such distractions helpful when she finally returned to school.

Grant received her associate’s degree at ICC. She has studied at the University of Wisconsin and completed her training at Northern Illinois University.

Before graduating from NIU she had a one-woman show in the University Student Center. In addition she has done shows at both the Peoria and Rockford Unitarian Churches and has taken part in a group show at Gallery Ten in Rockford.

“Bringing all of that, all of my experiences – being divorced, having kids – changed my outlook.” She was more mature and could appreciate art more fully.

Her current husband supports her financially.

“I don’t have to worry about making a living at it.” As a result, she can concentrate on expressive rather than commercial art.

Headline: Art draws

Article by Ange Churchill

Religious themes dominate the Barbara Grant art exhibit, running now through Oct. 11 in the Art Gallery, 240-A.

As an overall impression, Grant’s work is either emotion drawing an imaginative, or busy and glaring.

“Rake,” a multi-colored piece with a rake glued to it, wins the prize for giving the observer too much to look at. The colors are bright basic on a splashed blue background. The primaries are in clumps, giving the project the appearance of childhood art.

“Firebird” and “Woman with Christ-Look” are emotion drawing pieces. The colors are cool blues with amber at the bottom.

Imagination is triggered by the vague lines in “Freebird.” There is an outline of a bird done in varying blues. The overall effect is that of serene skies, calm days, and relaxation.

“Woman with Christ-Look” carries a similar feeling. The woman has a placid face, seemingly to be looking inward. The stray arm in the right lower quarter of the piece is a little confusing, but it doesn’t destroy the depth of the painting.

“Rake” might not have appeared so busy if it hadn’t been sandwiched between “Firebird” and “Woman with Christ-Look”.

“Hangers Triptych” is reminiscent of three pink rags being hung from hangers. The bottom of the canvas is even littered with metal pieces.

“Saturated,” a piece of contrasts, is eye catching. The reds and oranges of the kneeling body give it a tense appearance. The raised blue pool at the bottom of the canvas is deep and moody.

Fiery reds dominate “Peter,” a piece with much depth. The colors and style draw an accurate picture of the biblical Peter. The piece draws the viewer and is not too busy.

“Dancers,” borders on Mexican art. The red border surrounding two mirrors does not have any dancers depicted on it. It appears glaring to the eye, and the painting has little movement to it.

Journal Star, Peoria, Illinois newspaper, Sunday, September 16, 1990

Headline: Art exhibit season arrives


Several galleries mounting first major shows of the autumn.

The art exhibition season has begun with a rush as several galleries throughout the area are mounting their first major shows of autumn.

Two new shows are also on display at Illinois Central College: the strange, bewildering, disturbing acrylics of Barbara Grant in Gallery 240-A and the country scenes of Stuart Ruch in the Performing Arts Center lobby.

Grant’s works range from the ethereal to startling, almost gaudy pieces with a kind of visceral feeling. Some of them are executed on thickly painted, unframed canvas that has a curved, slightly bent look. Quite interesting. There are several paintings with a religious motif, including two Mary and Jesus works, one a Madonna, the other a Pieta. In the former, the figures are adorned with half-haloes made of dinner plates, and Mary is dressed in red. Her “Salome” is a very strong piece, and “Peter” almost suggests some Byzantine piece of extravaganza. But “St. Mark” as a crumpled bucket?

Much of this is highly arresting, if somewhat puzzling, but Grant provides a challenge and a provocation with this unusual collection of work. It will remain through Oct. 11.

The Rockford Register Star, Rockford, IL newspaper, May 19, 1989

Headline: Gallery Ten exhibit literally explores the human figure.

“Figuratively Speaking,” an art exhibit at Gallery Ten, literally explores the variations of the human form.

The exhibit opens with a reception from 5 to 9 tonight in the gallery, 221A E. State St. The show comprises 53 works by 28 artists from as near as Rockford and as far away as Greensboro, NC. Works include oil pastels, acrylics, watercolors, stoneware, bronzes, etchings and monotypes. (Continues through June 30.)

Area artists are: Sarah Bell, Diane Dailing, Barbara Grant, Barbara Jo Gustafson, Carolyn Mastroianni, Susan Sculley, Maggie Thieneman, Lynn Webb and Suzanne Whiteford.

Northern Star DeKalb, IL newspaper, April 27, 1989

Headline: Bird Image emerges as woman’s spirit in paintings inspired by artist’s dream

Article by Joe Mahony

Barbara Grant is not someone you’d call shallow. She looks beyond, into and through things that most people would not even give a second glance. In 1983, Grant had a dream. There was a man standing on a raft in the ocean. He held a pole that steadied him. She was on the raft also, but raging waves were making her slip. When she reached out to the man for his hand, he withdrew it and she knew she was not going to survive.

Since then, she gas always referred to it as the “Gray Dream,” because the water, sky, people, wind and raft were all gray in the dream. Grant said she dreamed this during a period in her life when she was struggling to stand on her own, financially and emotionally, without the help of a man.

There were many failed attempts to describe her dream on paper. In one painting, a bird shape appeared from the ink wash, and this formed the idea for a new series of drawings focusing on the woman and the bird. The presence of this bird became dominant. Grant realized that a relationship was developing between the woman and the bird, and the mood of the works shifting from fright to serenity.

The bird emerged as a woman’s spirit – Grant’s spirit. It represents the innate part of her she draws upon for strength and guidance.

Six years later, Barbara Grant’s dream is represented in a series of paintings that are on display in the Holmes Student Center art gallery.

“I told a couple of teachers about my dream, and they encouraged me to do more with it and I just sort of took off on it after that. It was really helpful for me to do this because my dream occurred during a time where I was under so much pressure. I was divorced and working and (at the time) not really into the paintings. This shows me how far I’ve come since that period, and that’s why I call it the “Freebird Series.”

It took Grant, a Rockford resident, two semesters to finish the series. She worked about 30 hours a week and had the frames made and glass cut in the evenings and on weekends. She did 30 initial drawings of the dream in charcoal and watercolor and switched to paint. She also incorporated objects found from the many roadside walks she takes, to give some parts of the paintings a three dimensional appearance.

“I do a lot of walking and I find stuff on the road that makes great shapes. I also have paintings that I paint over, like the Freebird Series. Painting over a piece gives it texture and that three-dimensional look. I like that,” she said.

Grant, 37, grew up in Peoria and said she has been interested in art since age 5, but didn’t have time to seriously concentrate on it until two years ago.

The Freebird Series is Grant’s first one-woman show. She had previously been in two group shows, where her work appeared at Gallery 10 in Rockford and in Peoria’s Lakeview Art Museum.

“What I really enjoy is when people come in and tell me they like my work. I mean, the money isn’t bad, but I’m really doing this because I enjoy it. I don’t have to sell my work to be happy.”

Grant is already at work on a new project called “Rhythm and Reds,” which focuses on the workings of the human body. This she began last month and is in the preliminary stages.

Grant, who will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting said, “I’m ready to do more.”