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Barbara Rae


Dr Barbara Rae CBE RA RE is a painter and printmaker. She combines the influence of historic items with painterly abstraction. When Rae was awarded a travel scholarship in 1966, it unleashed a love of travel that remains with her. Although she rejects the term landscape painter, the importance of place is very apparent in her works; in particular the human traces and patterns of history that are left on a landscape. Rae’s work explores human impact on the world around us; how mankind’s presence in the landscape is defined by the traces we leave, an old farmhouse or plough, sun blasted vines on a terraced hillside, a rickety chair by a keyhole window. She begins with weeks of historical study, and always works from sketches created on location. The physical layering of texture and colour in her screenprints echoes the layering of history, mood and atmosphere that her vision depicts, creating prints of great depth and richness. The work is also concerned with how we view and react to colour and form, their impact on our emotions, memory and imagination. Haunting as her source material can be, her images are invariably life affirming.

The way Rae conceives and works on her monoprints, screenprints and etchings issues from and compliments her approach to painting.

Brad Faine, Managing Director of Coriander Studio, explains Rae's silkscreen print process "Rae is an artist who really understands and exploits the process of silkscreen printing. We start with an idea or an image and put down a 'base' of colours; but then Rae takes over the process almost as though she were making a monoprint. She creates her own unique stencils by hand-painting directly onto stencil film, and spends days in the studio with us developing the colour and composition of the final work, so that her edition is an 'original' print in the purest sense of the word."

Barbara Rae studied at Edinburgh College of Art. She has received innumerable scholarships, awards, and honorary degrees. She lectured at Charles Rennie MacIntosh's famous Glasgow School of Art. Nowadays she travels the world in search of inspiration. Solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally have been a regular feature of Rae’s upward trajectory. Her work features in many private and public collections worldwide. Her images have also been translated into tapestry’s, one of the most notable, an iconic representation of Edinburgh during the winter festival, a monumental tapestry that now hangs in the capital's Festival Theatre. Recognised nationally and internationally, Barbara Rae was elected president of the Society of Scottish Artists in 1983; made a Member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1992. She was a member of the Royal Fine Art Commission for Scotland for nine successive years. She became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2011, and Royal Etcher and Printmaker in 2012. She lives and works in Edinburgh.