"One thing that I would like to communicate through my work" says artist Barbara Edidin, "is a sense of abundance". Abundance, richness and opulence are some of the feelings that Edidin's drawings evoke. Working with only colored pencils she creates remarkably realistic still lifes composed of simple objects, flowers, fruit and fabric. Despite the humble subjects that compose these arrangements, the result is such a lushness of color and pattern, that it "overflows the eye". "What I am striving for is a balance between realism and abstraction. My work is perfectly realistic, but the pieces are so "full" that on first sight one might see just a swirl of pattern and color that seems very abstract, then out of that swirl emerges objects that are recognized as being absolutely realistic. The eye bounces back and forth between these two ways of seeing, blurring the line between realism and abstraction."
Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1952, Barbara Edidin attended the Kansas City Art Institute, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University. During her academic career she became interested in ceramics and fiber arts, especially quilt making. "I came back to drawing through quilting. After a couple of years it dawned on me that I absolutely hate to sew! So I decided to draw the quilts." The influence of her quilting background is apparent in the repeated juxtaposition of patterns and the intricacy of her textile subjects.
Edidin's technique with colored pencils is unique. And as many artists know, anyone who is dedicated to this medium considers it a labor of love. The drawings are not executed quickly, but this effort has yielded artistic rewards. Her recent still lifes amaze the eye with their utter clarity. Edidin's drawings, with their jewel-like colors and crisp lines, look like oil paintings. The great patience and focus with which she creates each image is apparent. Silver gleams like silver, crystal refracts light like crystal. The work is startlingly realistic, with a deep, luxurious surface, pushing the limits of the medium to a new level. But dazzling her audience with her technique is not really her aim. "I hope that people can look beyond the technique, and find in the work something that moves them, something beneath the surface, something of myself. When that happens then I am really showing them what I see. Then I am sharing my way of looking at things."
There is a magnetic attraction in Edidin's drawings, a promise to pull the viewer into the piece. One finds oneself drawn into the still life the same way that one is drawn into the view through an open window. Her drawings are a window into a world of deep lushness and a vision of abundance.
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