She has attracted, and now represents a growing group of like-minded artists from all over. Her openings have become the stuff of legend, and have not gone unnoticed by the press, citizens and even town officials. The mayor himself was spotted at the opening of Colors of Life, recently.
Figure models, live music, fire artists and even some circus performers all converge to make her art openings interactive, full of life and memorable. But let's not forget it's all about the art, and that's what Barbara does best. With Palette Gallery attracting so much attention to her's and her fellow artists work, she is now more productive than ever and has reached a creative stride.
Born and raised in Southern California and growing up in a highly artistic family, Fritsche has always been driven to explore her own artistic nature. Self-taught, Fritsche owes much of her technique and approach to the greats that inspired her. Flashes of Cezanne, Matisse and, particularly, Gauguin, are seen in the color and boldness of her work.
A larger and more direct inspiration has been found in building her home and studio in rural Ojai California, where she loves to hike with her dogs, cook and paint. “I can’t live in concrete,” Fritsche says emphatically, “I thrive in nature. A good hike just clears my mind and frees up everything.”
The great outdoors is a common theme in her work with nudes. The subjects of her paintings can often be seen bathing in water and sunning on rocks.
Barbara’s earlier work, evocative and often disturbing, was sparse in both color and structure.
Then, motivated by the need to move fully into a new stage of her career, Fritsche began to explore the color and form of the female image. Widening and deepening her scope to include all aspects of the human form in their primeval, chthonian manifestations. This developed into a deep passion for the challenge of the female figurative form and the work has since taken on a life of its own. “Given what I’m known for, I’m surprised by its content," she says, “but this is as much me as anything I’ve done before.”
Long involved in abstract painting, Fritsche has moved into the exploration of figurative painting centered in the use of ambient colors to animate the forms. In many of these compositions, it is interesting to note her juxtaposition of the female figure, long a metaphor for humanity, and the corruption and raw energy of rock forms. There is, of course, an inherent and unconscious reference to Paul Gauguin’s first Tahitian period in both subject and use of brushwork. Fritsche, however, is not engaged in providing a romanticized image, but rather a post-modern contextualization of arch-typical women in time and space.
The natural activities and relaxed state of most of the images allow for insight into the private landscape of the female experience. The use of the predominant hues of blues and sepias effect a fascinating “distancing” from the viewer, which allows the viewing of these figures as from a memory, rather than in the harsh light of present time. In all, Fritsche has reengaged the historical language of figurative painting in a fresh and poignant way.