Bee-Close

Carol Barsha spends a few weeks each summer en plein air, producing studies that in her studio become large-format “highly distilled” drawings and paintings. She often pulls her titles from the words of soul mates like Wordsworth, Hopkins and Heaney, poets who, like the artist, sense the pulse and power of nature.

What begins with direct observation becomes something other as Barsha’s imagination, brush and pen push against botanical and perceptual reality. Foreground (plants) and background (fence posts, wire grids) lean in surprising directions. In works like "Swishing and Marching (pictured)," the shapes of flowers, clouds and hills suggest their invisible, slow-time progress, tectonic shifting, skyward pressing.

Surrealism has always inflected her paintings—Old Testament angels and fiery beds, the centripetal force of birds’ nests and coils of tape. Now her work, presented by
Reyes & Davis, has an in-your-face spiritual quotient, in Hopkins’ words, “a freshness deep down things.” Writer Julian Bell credits her self-immersive stance, saying Barsha “hones in, bee-close, on the spectacular, flagrant clamorousness of garden and meadow flora.”

Meet the artist reception May 4, 5-7 pm, exhibition all month, 1019 7th St. NW, 202.607.3804. www.carolbarsha.com and www.reyesdavis.com

Jean Lawlor Cohen