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Barbara Brody

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Barbara Hammerman Brody’s particular tale isn’t your average one of kid doing well at school, attending art college and then announcing to the world and his wife that they’re an artist in the making, after perhaps a stint in a commercial creative environ for a few years and/or travelling the globe. No. Chicago-born and bred contemporary artist, Brody entered the Illinois world back in 1941, and remembers how the manifestation of colour heightened her visual awakening. Harking back to the age of three, Brody recounts how the sun, skies and landscapes around her afforded her this panoramic, larger than life perspective as viewed through innocent eyes. This visual awareness and stimulus continued to fascinate Brody through school, and on leaving she enrolled at the Chicago Art Center so as to obtain some formal training in art and to develop her love and understanding of the subject alongside determining the skillset she herself had in her hands. Brody married and settled in Davenport, Iowa two years down the road, but still art – and the development of her own talents – remained at the forefront of her mind.

As Brody’s own personal art odyssey evolved, she became known in local creative circles, and it wasn’t long before her work showed up on the radar of galleries in the neighbourhood and further afield. One such venue was a gallery in Minneapolis, Minnesota who Brody became affiliated to and showcased her work at as of 1962, and one, she hoped would soon multiply. Some nine years later in 1971, Brody’s creative career took another direction, as she turned to working behind the lens rather than the canvas as she made the decision to become a professional photographer and pretty much immediately afterwards, open a photography studio. However for one reason and another Brody didn’t dedicate her career to photography, and called it a day in 1976, citing a need to spend more time with her sons.

Instead Brody became the Executive Director of a Bi-State Social Service Agency, before being promoted to Marketing Director for Iowa's first HMO during a chapter in her life that saw her art playing second fiddle to an alternative, yet rewarding and successful vocation. But it’s impossible to keep a good artist down, and in 1984 Brody returned to the creative fold and launched her professional art and designer career, finally. She flung open the doors to her BH Brody Studio and made a lucrative living by originating and designing hugely successful wall decor and accessory lines. A mere few years on and Brody became a victim of her own creative successes, as the demand for her own bespoke artwork took precedent and superseded the demands on her more commercially-inspired lines, and she henceforth introduced herself at gatherings as a bona fida artist. Now residing in the Pennsylvanian countryside, Brody has numerous successful exhibitions behind her, both in America and internationally.

Summarising Brody’s works is a little more straightforward, as for the large part they tend to centre on the sky, which of course stems from her first known interactions and observations of a huge, enigmatic sky as an infant. A radiance of bombastic colour, coupled with extra lashings of draconian sky push a landscape into second place in the race to win a typical Brody frame. Yet having said that, her landscapes are equally as pulsating, on account of the luxury palette of colour she fills every last inch of it with. There’s a huge calming quality to a trademark Brody composition, which relaxes the viewer that her peers seldom achieve as the artist transports you to the fields of plenty and the glorious heaven on earth beyond. In all honesty Brody’s skies kidnap a good two-thirds of the frame, which is hardly a negative when confronted with such instantaneously dynamic reds, yellows and blues that conspire to give each painting such a bottomless pit when it comes to perceived depth.