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Barbara Putnam


Arts, Visual Arts
Arts Department Faculty


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A.L.M., Harvard University
B.S., University of New Hampshire
Arts of China and Japan


Barbara Putnam has been making prints since a teacher handed her carving tools in a third grade Saturday class at the Worcester Art Museum. Then and now she is fascinated by the boldness of communicating through black and white shapes and gestures, and the directness of such rich, traditional medium. The quilts became a way to extend the print, when after printing an edition she began printing onto cotton. That initiated an investigation into the chemistry of fiber reactive dying and most recently (see “Ocean Warning”) adding cyanotype, allowing her to expose objects directly onto dyed fabric and further experiment with color.

Barbara’s work has always focused on the environment: from open spaces to small tributaries and moving from caution for land use to now sadly, documenting the disappearance of species and showing our human impact upon the landscape. Barbara has had prints and quilts included in international exhibitions in Romania, Portugal, Japan, Argentina, Vietnam, a solo exhibition in Finland, and has been included in numerous museum exhibitions, including Chicago Art Institute, Denver Art Museum, Cleveland Museum of Art, Toledo Museum of Art. With collaborator Deborah Cornell, a composer, and an ornithologist from Bowdoin College they presented Quiet Skies, a multi media installation at the Kala Art Institute in Berkley California. Barbara has conducted workshops and been visiting artist at MIT, Bowdoin College, Boston University, Dennison University, Tyler School of Art, University of Wyoming and has taught at Haystack Mountain School of Craft. She was the founding artist in residence at the Delta Wetlands and Waterfowl Research Foundation in Manitoba, Canada where she worked alongside scientists researching avian migration.

In 2012-2013 Barbara took part in the Arctic Circle Residency, an international expeditionary residency that travelled by tall ship through the Svalbard Archipelago with 22 scientists, artists, composers, and writers. Sailing past glaciers calving and retreating at the 80th parallel, walking across melting snowpack and permafrost, the participants from around the world developed projects to give voice to a vanishing world.

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Barbara Putnam