Barbara L. Sykes: Ethereal Abstractions

Saturday, Nov 7 – Dec 20, 2020

1717 Central St.
Evanston, IL 60201

Ethereal Abstractions is an uplifting watercolor series that features work by Barbara L. Sykes. The paintings are lyrical, colorful abstractions reminiscent of organic shapes, ethereal forms and underwater landscapes - evocative impressions of spiritual and elemental worlds. They are created through a meditative, intuitive practice; the unconscious becomes conscious as colors flow across the paper and forms emerge in silence. A sense of stillness and movement are captured as images surface, blend into each other and become redefined. Ethereal Abstractions evokes the spontaneity, themes and underlying presence of the Divine Feminine - reoccurring threads that reflect and continue from Sykes’s previous body of time-based and digital artwork. 


My life, career and art are intrinsically intertwined paths on a journey of self-discovery. I was born into a family of artists, designers and inventors. Since childhood, I have always produced art. To me, art is the creative expression of both the personal and collective experience. The process of creating art provides the artist with opportunities to discover the world around and within them, stimulating both personal growth and development. The very essence of art is that of creative birth and transformation. It is through the symbiotic relationship between the artist, their work, and the audience that the transformative nature and creative vision of new ways of understanding is experienced and released.

I challenge myself artistically, personally and professionally and strive to live a life of value and purpose. I aspire to create powerful works of art through interaction, reflection and direct action. My work is intended to be a motivating force that will help to transcend differences and speak simply, in an intimate and personal way, to the essential qualities that we all share and that unites us, while exalting the distinguishing qualities that make us unique. 

My work explores themes of spirituality, rituals and indigenous cultures from a feminist perspective – integrating poetry, dance and martial arts performances with traditional mediums as well as experimental electronic tool systems designed for artists, consumer and broadcast technologies. The work revolves around the timeless reoccurring experiences of the collective consciousness and honors the spirituality of indigenous people and their affinity to each other, the natural world and to the divine.