Barbara Pagh

Barbara Pagh is a printmaker and papermaker who is a Full Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at URI. Pagh’s solo exhibition Passages was on view in the Main Gallery at the University of Rhode Island in 2009. In 1997 she exhibited at Keimyung University in Taegu, South Korea. Recent group exhibitions include Printmaking Now at the Grimshaw-Gudewicz Gallery, Fall River, MA; The Art of Printmaking at the Spring Bull Gallery in Newport, RI; At Issue: Prints and Social Commentary at the Beard Gallery, Wheaton College, Norton, MA; and Against Tradition at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN. Her work can be found in corporate and private collections. Pagh is a founding member of the Printmakers’ Network of Southern New England. She has been a member of Hera Gallery in Wakefield, RI since 1985, serves on the Board of Directors and is currently Vice President. Pagh and her husband Jeff Bertwell founded their own printshop, Queen’s River Press, in 1985. Pagh received her MA from New York University and her BA from Mount Holyoke College. 

Artist Statement

There are several themes that have appeared consistently in my work over the past 20 years that often diverge and intersect at various points. The most dominant theme has been landscape or the natural world including the American Southwest, coastal Rhode Island, the Scottish Highlands and Ireland. There is no attempt to create a realistic representation of place, but a subjective impression based on structure and color and resulting in a layering of texture and form. Images from the lithographic series Coastlines and the Woodland Series represent this aspect of my work. The resulting images require you to look at the landscape in a different way; to look closely and focus on details that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Passages was an installation that was inspired by the megalithic structures that were erected in ancient Ireland. It filled the gallery space and invited the viewer to enter a symbolic passage constructed with sheets of printed handmade paper. It is part of a series of exhibitions based on specific sites where an ancient culture left its’ mark on the landscape. Stone Paper Circle from 2002 is the first in this series and was based on stone circles in northern Scotland and the Orkneys.

Printmaking allows me to experiment with the multiple in different ways by printing different colors and varying the combinations of images. I rarely make an edition, except for group portfolios. I usually start my process with making paper. I work with abaca and made sheets of various sizes. Some of the three dimensional forms are from flax. I photograph on site and then alter the photographs on the computer in Photoshop. From those prints I make negatives and expose them on a light sensitive aluminum lithographic plate. I save the plates and often re-use them in different ways.