Barbara Rae Artist Biography
Edinburgh based and highly acclaimed artist Barbara Rae is known for her paintings and prints of intense colour bursts that evoke dramatic landscapes but remain resolutely abstract. Born in 1943 in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland, Barbara Rae studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1961 to 1965. She was awarded a travel scholarship and went to work in France and Spain. As a student she worked as a grouse-beater in the Highlands, ﾓI loved being up there walking the hills, seeing the landscape, drawing it.ﾔ The geography of her environment and walking through it in preparation for painting has remained very important for Rae. Raeﾒs abstract work is known for its vigorous colour. It comes from her technique of applying unmixed acrylic paints directly into the canvas and then pouring lots of fluid over them, so that the pigments mix and embed themselves into the work, ﾓI just use the pure pigments and they blend on the canvas.ﾔ She creates dynamic compositions from washes of bold colour, merging forms and thrusting lines. Rae attended Moray House College of Education and taught in Edinburgh until 1972. She continued teaching, becoming the lecturer in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking at Aberdeen College of Education between 1972 and 1974. This was followed by 21 years lecturing in Drawing and Painting at Glasgow School of Art. Now Barbara Rae energetically travels the globe in pursuit of her art. She divides her time between homes in her native Scotland, Los Angeles and France, regularly travelling to Spain and Ireland. ﾓWhen Iﾒm working on an exhibition, I shoot off to different places and I research each one carefully,ﾔ she told the RA magazine, ﾓIﾒm not interested in topographical detail. I need to be able to immerse myself in the culture of a place to make art.ﾔBarbara Raeﾒs work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions. In 1994 and 1999 she won tapestry commissions for The Festival Theatre, Edinburgh and for the Royal Scottish Museum. She has received major Arts Council awards as well as the Guthrie Medal, Royal Scottish Academy Sir William Travel Award (1983) and Calouste Gulbenkian Printmaking Award (1983). She was a Hunting Group Prizewinner in 1990. Rae was elected President of the Society of Scottish Artists in 1983. She was made a Member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1992 and a Royal Academician in 1996. In 1998 she was awarded a CBE and received an Honorary Doctorate from Napier University, Edinburgh. Her work can be found in public and private collections around the world.