Monday, July 29, 2013

The Barbara Mata Newspaper Article 

Written By: Rob Levey

For local artist and New Hampshire Art Association member Barbara Mata, art is not just a finished product, it represents a window into her soul. “My art is an extension of my being, an intricate part of who I am and what I am,”
she said. “Without it, I would be empty, void, and suffering.”

For Mata, though, it is in fact these darker themes in life that help to inspire her, although she balances her interest in such concepts with a healthy sense of humor, especially when it comes to defining what matters most to her in life. “My family who lets me be me without contempt or scorn,” she said. “My art, which lets me be me—and, of course, breakfast buffets, chicken wings, and wine.”

Mata said a bottle of white wine also makes her laugh, too, but offered one caveat. “It’s funny only after I drink it, of course,” she said with a smile.

As for what inspires her art, she said while the Seacoast has inspired her to love and appreciate nature, she draws her inspiration from a more abstract source. “Once I heard an art teacher say there are two types of painters—observational painters and cerebral painters,” she explained. “I am a cerebral painter.  Sounds impressive huh?  Well, all it means is my paintings are created from my brain and not from looking at something.”

Understandably, Mata acknowledged her art is “very abstract and getting more abstract.”

“I would like my art to evoke emotion in people even if that emotion is internally experienced and not externally voiced,” she said. “My art is abstract and reveals itself to each person as a different face to be analyzed, recognized, and appreciated. Hopefully, these people will purchase my work—or at least smile.”

As for her artistic process itself, Mata said the easy part is getting started. “I start by deciding what type of painting I want to do,” she said. “Will it be on stretched canvas with layers of paint applied with palette knives, or on un-stretched canvas with paper tape and scraped paint, or perhaps a collage?”

She said the answer to these questions is important, because she generally works in a series of three to five paintings and needs to be sure she has enough supplies on hand before starting. Citing her next decision is what colors to use, she acknowledged the next phase of her process as “maddening.”

“It’s the time between the beginning of the painting and the end of the painting where my subconscious struggles to focus on one visual experience—just one,” she said. “There are hundreds, thousands of subconscious visual experiences in my brain all fighting for their place on my canvas.”

“Well, maybe not thousands since I do have a short term memory problem,” she added.

She said she eventually figures it out with the end of the painting generally culminating in a sudden, “It’s done,” feeling.”

When not painting, Mata said she loves kayaking and watching creatures in the water basking in the sun—all of which serve as a stark contrast to her childhood in Philadelphia. “Being raised in the city, I learned to love the smell of bus fumes and the sounds of honking horns and the helicopters overhead searching for fugitives,” she said. “There was little wildlife except at the zoo, or stuffed and sitting in storefronts.”

In living on the Seacoast, however, Mata said she began to realize all life begins and ends in nature. “All the colors, patterns and textures we proudly display are from nature,” she said. “It's peaceful here. Life should be peaceful and chaotic 
at the same time—like nature.”

Mata said she exemplifies her belief in the beauty of chaos by creating new recipes that use local produce. “I have a notebook on my kitchen counter where I write down each new recipe,” she said. “The book is not written in order, though. A page is randomly opened and the recipe is added and dated, so a recipe on one page may be dated from 2009 and on the next page would be a 2013 entry.”

As for her future plans, Mata said she wants to create art, as she also currently runs the kitchen at Cross Roads House, a homeless shelter in Portsmouth. She said she is also looking forward to having a cane.

“A wooden one with a really cool glass handle would be nice,” she smiled. “Maybe I should start designing one.”

For those interested in seeing Mata’s work, call her at 
(603) 793-9932.

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