To see a painting by Lu Ann Barrow is become a part of something: a community, a place, a relationship between friends, a spiritual moment. Her work transports us, her viewers, into a world both impossible and seemingly only just out of reach.
Lu Ann Barrow was born in Rosenberg, Texas in 1934 and moved to the much larger (but far smaller than today!) town of Austin for college in 1952, where she was exposed to the dynamic and nationally-acclaimed Studio Art faculty at UT-Austin, including William Lester and Dan Wingren. After graduating in 1956, Barrow quickly became a force in Austin and Texas, regularly exhibiting in both Dallas and Austin for the past six decades. Her work represented the Texas Book Festival in 1999 and the National Book Festival in 2001, among other accolades.
Though Barrow, formally trained and well-versed in academic tradition, does not fit the profile of a folk painter, she uses the recognizable style of plain painting to connect the viewer on a primal level to our shared Texan and American stories. The strength of Barrow’s academic experience at UT as well as her own interest in the art historical canon come through clearly in her work. Many of her paintings show her strong affinity for the work of both Vincent Van Gogh and Henri Matisse at times combining the vibrant and even strident colors and tilted perspective of Vincent van Gogh with the flat, exaggerated decorative patterns of Henri Matisse.
Her focus on community and a communal understanding of the joys and sorrows of all of our lives, in combination with scenes that resonate with viewers for their archetypal characterization of a past just out of reach all connect us on a primal level to a shared history whether it be through religion, music, landscape, or community gatherings.