Barbara Böhlke

Barbara Böhlke
Barbara Böhlke (b.1958, Namibia) is a renowned Namibian artist who specialises in large-scale painterly works, which symbolises a manifestation of the psychological inner space. Presenting a collection of self-taught techniques, personalised over the years to express an association with the country’s expansive landscapes and skies, the artist demonstrates a natural ability to transform space into a reflective mood, emotion, and connection to self. Working with locally sourced, natural pigments to accentuate colours and contours – primarily ochre stones from the Kaokoveld, shaded and textured with charcoal and ash – she masters these onto canvas with sponges, fingers and forearms, softened with the occasional brush stroke, and textured through layering, scratching and scaling. Through the slow process of shaping the artworks layer-by-layer, Böhlke transitions, moving into formlessness and through horizons, presenting a sensuous journey through the ambiguous. Born and bred in Swakopmund, Böhlke divided her youth between the desert and ocean, where she developed a strong appreciation for creative expression, open spaces and the transience of life. She qualified as a goldsmith in 1981 in Hanau, Germany, after which she returned to the continent to pursue a BA of Fine Arts in South Africa, receiving her Honours degree, cum laude, from the University of Stellenbosch in 1988. Returning to Namibia in 1989, Böhlke has been an active part of the art community ever since, taking part in several workshops and exhibitions both locally and abroad, and serving as a working group member of the Tulipamwe International Artist Workshop. In 1997 she opened the Barbara Böhlke Art School and has been organising a biannual exhibition in benefit of local charities since 2013. Böhlke’s work is internationally acclaimed, featuring in private collections across the globe, from Australia to France, Ethiopia to Norway, USA, UK, South Africa, Zambia, and Denmark.

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