Barbara Prey Projects is pleased to present three upcoming summer exhibitions of recent work by internationally acclaimed artist Barbara Ernst Prey.

VISTAS: Recent Oil Paintings and New Print Releases                            July 1 – July 14

THE ART OF LIGHT AND SPACE                                                               July 15 - Sept 2

TUSCAN OILS               August 14 – Sept 2


 VISTAS: Recent Oil Paintings and New Print Releases

July 1 – July 14
, 2019


The summer 2019 season inaugural exhibition at Barbara Prey Projects will feature Prey's latest intimate oil paintings. Due to the nature of the medium and the smaller scale of the works, painting in oil allows the artist to experiment with levels of freedom and informality not afforded by watercolor, the medium she is well known for and in which she created her 8 feet by 15 feet - considered the world's largest watercolor - interior portrait for MASS MoCA.
VISTAS will expatiate on Prey's iconic village and island view series as well as her paintings of Maine's working waterfront; visually exemplifying Prey’s ongoing dialogue with her immediate environs in the mid-coastal area of Maine, the works are observations of the same location’s evolution over the course of four decades.
In conjunction with the new oil paintings, recent digital print releases of selected works will also be on view. 

Looking Out , 2018, Oil on panel, 11 x 14 inches

Looking Out, 2018, Oil on panel, 11 x 14 inches

THE ART OF LIGHT AND SPACE                                                                  

July 15 - Sept 2, 2019 


Barbara Prey Projects is proud to present a new exhibition: The Art of Light and Space, featuring recent paintings by internationally celebrated artist Barbara Ernst Prey, July 15 - September 2.

The title references ongoing exhibitions featuring Prey’s work - NASA ART 60 Years - on display at the Space Center in Houston, with her commissioned painting, The International Space Station.  She is the only female commissioned four times for NASA’s renowned art collection. Her NASA commissions documenting space history both broadened her perspective universally, and provided reflection on our place in the cosmos.  Back on earth, Prey is also an expert in depicting vast interior spaces. MASS MoCA (The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) commissioned her to create the world’s largest known watercolor painting (8 by 15 feet) for its new Building 6, where the work is prominently displayed in “the prow.”

MASS MoCA just unveiled Building 6, a massive addition of 130,000 square feet of exhibition space, and to inaugurate the new wing, more than a dozen exhibitions by a powerful array of blue chip artists are on display, one of which is something of a meta-show. Barbara Ernst Prey‘s Building 6 Portrait: Interior consists of a singular work—a giant, framed, 8′ x 15′ watercolor painting depicting the pre-renovation version of the same space the piece is housed in.                                                                                           —VICE Creators

The Art of Light and Space also stands in loose reference to Prey's concurrent exhibition at the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA (Borrowed Light, May 10 to November 11, 2019).  A core of the Hancock Shaker Village’s exhibition program is to invite well-known contemporary artists to visit and reinterpret the space and ethos of the Shakers.

The large watercolors included in The Art of Light and Space reference the importance of nature in an age of fast-paced social media technology, and invite the viewer to pause, put down the cellphone, and look - look at the rich colors, and the layering of deep hues, vividly reminding us of these spectacular color combinations from nature 

Prey’s aesthetic vision is influenced by her natural and man-made surroundings, as well as her scholarly background in art-history, memory, and keen observation of her environs - both intellectually and emotionally. 

Her painting “Handmade” not only celebrates the simplicity of the handmade but draws the viewer into the world of color with the strong abstract blue of the wateragainst the white boat, allowing for the natural shade of the paper.  “Spindles,” a series of Shaker threads, focuses on color and simplicity of design - while still utilitarian.

Handmade , 2018, Watercolor, 28x40 inches

Handmade, 2018, Watercolor, 28x40 inches


This exhibition features works that mine a uniquely American tenor with a relationship between narrative and abstract, creating a tension that is both serene and unnerving. Her dialogue with color drove Prey to develop groundbreaking, intricate layering techniques.  Beginning with marks on paper, and then built up through her evocativeuse of color and dozens of thin washes, often incorporating parts of her surrounds  - water, soil, crushed shells, paint chips from a former factory building add distinctive character to her work. 

The Art of Light and Space considers Prey's distinct perspective as a 21st century female artist, revising the male dominated art-historical watercolor tradition, as she explores the depth of the American landscape and American identity. 

Barbara Prey, (American, b. 1957 in New York) is a contemporary painter, most recently commissioned by MASS MoCA to create the largest known watercolor painting  (8 by 15 feet) for their new building. Prey’s work also resides in the National Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New York Historical Society, and the permanent collection of the White House, where she is one of just two living female artists represented.

Prey has served for the past ten years as the sole visual artist on the U.S. President-appointed National Council on the Arts, the advisory board to the National Endowment for the Arts. Artists are appointed for their contributions and recognition in American Art. In 2003, her painting of the Diplomatic Reception Room was featured on the White House Christmas card, and dozens of her artworks have been commissioned by other government agencies and institutions, including four by NASA. Tapped annually for the U.S. Art in Embassies program, Prey’s work has been on display in over one hundred U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, including those in Paris, Hong Kong, London and Madrid. Her painting Gallantly Streaming is currently selected for exhibit in the lobby of the U.S. Mission to the U.N.  Prey has received numerous institutional accolades, including a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation and the New York State Senate’s “Women of Distinction” Award.

Prey earned a Bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a Master’s degree from Harvard University, subsequently receiving a Fulbright scholarship in Baroque art and architecture. Prey is an adjunct faculty member at Williams College. She has studios in New York, Massachusetts, and Maine.

Channeled Light , 2019, Watercolor on paper, 38.5 x 58.5 inches

Channeled Light, 2019, Watercolor on paper, 38.5 x 58.5 inches



August 14 – Sept 2, 2019

In constant dialogue with her surroundings, Barbara Prey never travels without her painting supplies; brushes, paint, sketchbook—always within reach. TUSCAN OILS brings together her onsite paintings and unique reflections from recent travels in Europe, specifically the region of Tuscany in central Italy; Prey’s on-site painted views of Chianti’s olive groves and vineyards reveal her intense study and examination of her immediate surroundings and reflect on the artist as a world traveler; in her formative years after graduation from Williams and Harvard, Prey received a Fulbright Scholarship and a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, enabling her to travel, study, work and exhibit extensively in Europe and Asia—the sketch book always on hand. During her four years in Europe, the artist spent much time studying the lines of early Renaissance drawings, Gothic sculptures and architectural sketches. Absorbing her studies, Prey focused on drawing when she returned to the United States in the early 1980s where The NewYorker and other publications featured her artwork for over 10 years. The exposure to foreign cultures and new imagery are essential to her practice.  Painting utensils as steady companions, Prey continues her journeys, always seeking out new sites to work “en plein air”. Recent travels have taken the artist to Tuscany and the Dolomites in Italy, France, Scotland, Switzerland and Peru; "I’m always looking, thinking, and distilling”, she states.

Le Masse, View, Italy, Oil on panel, 10 x 20 inches, 2019

Le Masse, View, Italy, Oil on panel, 10 x 20 inches, 2019