Catalog Essays

An American View: Barbara Ernst Prey

Barbara Ernst Prey’s career is thirty-five years young; her lifelong learning continues unabated.  “We look and we learn and we incorporate and then we put our own mark, world view, and experience in to the work,” muses Prey.  The artist continues to take the watercolor medium, which has an august role in the history of American art, to innovative—yet traditionally rooted—places.  Looking as well as seeing, she searches out new vistas, compositions, and ideas in the landscapes and environments that are her home.

Sarah Cash, Bechhoefer Curator of American Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art
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Reflections: Thirty Years of Painting by Barbara Ernst Prey

Her new painting for NASA, Shuttle Discovery: Return to Flight, was on an easel, waiting to be unveiled, when Barbara Ernst Prey discussed her life and work with Paul Lieberman,the roving cultural correspondent of the Los Angeles Times. This is drawn from that January 18, 2006 conversation at the Williams Club in New York.

Essay by former Los Angeles Times Cultural Writer and Warner Brothers Executive Producer Paul Lieberman
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Works on Water: Barbara Ernst Prey

Water. Fishermen. A life of the sea. These subjects, the focus of Barbara Ernst Prey’s most recent body of work, took on new meaning to the world during the weeks I first came to know these paintings shortly after a deadly tsunami slammed into the shores of South Asia in late December 2004.

Sarah Cash, Bechhoefer Curator of American Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art
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Instant Apotheoses: The Lightscapes of Barbara Ernst Prey

Fortunate readers encounter books that even as they present “conclusions” have the encouraging ability to spur further thoughts leading to independent epiphanies. In a similarly paradoxical way, the unquestionably “finished”, indubitably major paintings of Barbara Ernst Prey never exhaust the pictorial possibilities of the landscape.

Charles A. Riley II, Ph.D., New York
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