Barbara Houwers (1958)
1976-1982. Visual arts teachers Training Academy Utrecht-Amersfoort.
1990-1992. HKU-Utrecht School of the arts.
1992. Start professional practice.
A biography has been written by Art Historian Diana Kostman.
Pictures: Herman van Doorn, Tom de Groot, Yvonne Verburg, Marjoleine van Kalken.
Barbara Houwers is a Dutch Visual Artist. She lives and works in Blaricum (Amsterdam region). Her collection consists of paintings, sculpture and 3D Designs. Barbara’s works can be found both in private and corporate collections and public buildings around the world.
“I manly work on the theme of repetition. Through echoing forms over and over, a sense of calm is created through grids and structures. The traditional brush plays a minor role in my latest works, but the paint is applied in several layers with the pallet knife. In this way the composition refers to itself and less to the tangible world.This can be compared with the abstract expressionism from the fifties of the 20th century, for example the practice of Jackson Pollock, which was simpified and almost geometric. Although these works at first glance approach abstraction, through reiterated shapes an almost formal pattern is created. By abandoning representational content and focussing on line, structure and tone I stepped into a sculptural dimension: A collection of new paintings, objects and statues that are a mix of materials and discplines. Tradition and innovation meet in this new artistic experiment”.
Art Historian Diana Kostman: “’The beauty of these works and the recent work of Houwers are about the structures of paint and the use of subtle or quite contrasting colours. In their beauty the works still appeal to the spectator on an emotional level rather than in a narrative way. In her present work Houwers takes a further step in also experimenting with the supporting device. Where Houwers initially used the traditional flat canvas her recent works have a three-dimensional character putting them on the edge of painting and sculpture. Therefore it is not surprising that recently Houwers is concentrating more on the creation of three-dimensional forms for instance by the use of 3D-printing techniques but also by reusing the more traditional technique of modelling and constructing”.
Exhibitions and archive
Publications and press
2015: Appointed as Member in the Order of Orange-Nassau by His Majesty The King of The Netherlands.
2017: Longlisted for the Aestetica Art prize Future Now: 100 Contemporary Artists 2017.
2003-2015. Boardmember Dooyewaard Foundation.
2005-2015. President (founding committee) Artist foundation Gooise Kunstkring.
2010-2015. President organisation for Female entrepreneurs: Entre Femmes-Gooi.
1984-2015. Art Advice, selection and exhibition committees.
The central theme in the works of Barbara Houwers is the strength of men.
In various sub-themes and periods, form and concept have evaluated.
Present: Crossing disciplines
Abstraction, form and structure are the present disciplines of Barbara Houwers. She explores the area between painting and the object. In Crossing disciplines she makes the recurring basic themes become autonomous. Houwers develops herself into an artist in paintings, objects and statues in a new experimental phase. New 3-D printing objects are conceptual pieces of art and symbolize growth through cooperation. The objects are designed as a gift article and visualize connectedness and communication.
2013 Serenity of repetition
After 2012 Barbara Houwers gradually lets go the themes and looks in deepening layers for new ways. Houwers remains fascinated by paint: with painter’s knives, rollers and plastering tools she makes the materials express themselves. Brushes she only uses rarely. Her goal is to get the utmost out of paint. The painting itself is the theme. In new objects, repetition shows as well….
2010 Square as a metaphor
The square as an “language” and subject becomes more and more important in which the human being from the former period is the recurring basis. The imagery of Houwers becomes squarer by her using painting knives and the square enters in her recent work as an independent form.
Man with his luggage, talents and “little suitcases” filled with the present and the past continues to be a subject in the work of Barbara Houwers. It also appears to be a metaphor for many subtopics. For example as a pedestal and a symbol of human capital. For that reason Houwers’s work has also been purchased by many companies and institutions.
Spontaneity and guts feature a new period, with separate keys and with an increasing attention to the matter. A composition of resin and sand, is the basis of her canvases. Then numerous times Houwers rinses paint over the canvas. Layer after layer she creates a rich variety of color and form, using even more painting materials from ‘”De Bouwmarkt” (= the builder’s merchant) so that trowel, painting knife and cardboards replace the brushes.
1997 Connectedness and communication
The main characters in Houwers’s work are present in an intuitive and expressive way in their surrounding area, leaving much to the imagination, and perform in a snapshot of life in all its facets. Romance, commitment and communication are sub themes that occur during this period. Her technique is striking, with strong lines and expressive gestures. The material used in this stage becomes looser, with sand, structures and an extraordinary transparency.
The early the work of Barbara Houwers features an expressionistic figuration Over the years Houwers develops in style and with a number of recognizable themes. The human being as a soloist is one of the earliest ever recurring elements. The oblong format with graceful figures becomes a recognizable pattern. At the intersection of figuration and abstraction, they tell their story about the human being in all its facets.