Contemporary Artists

Barbara Rae is an artist of consummate ability: a highly renowned painter and a celebrated printmaker. She explores the culture of a place to make her art, always looking for manmade marks and stories left behind in a landscape. Inspired by landscapes from her native Scotland as well as her travels to Spain, France, Ireland and California, Rae explains ‘landscape is only the beginning, the formal structure – the drawings are the starting point for something I play around with in the studio.’



Barbara Rae at Adam Gallery

One of Britain's leading contemporary painters Barbara Rae is an artist highly sought after, a Royal Academician and the recipient of numerous awards including three honorary doctorates and Commander of the British Empire (CBE). Many of her paintings can be found in public collections, including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; the Whitworth, Manchester; Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington.

Known for her use of bright and contrasting colour, Rae’s paintings combine the influence of landscape and travel with painterly abstraction. A sense of place has always been important to Rae - in particular, the human traces and patterns of history that are left on a landscape. At the same time, the structure of a landscape is simply the starting-point for an experimental studio process, involving paint, colour and collage that borders on abstraction. Her ‘pure pleasure of painting’ is evident in these dynamic and experimental works. 

Press - 'Out to lunch: Barbara Rae RA' - RA Magazine Spring 2010

sketchbooks-show - cover

'Sketchbooks show' - pdf catalogue

Barbara Rae’s  sketchbooks are full of watercolour paintings completed outside on the spot, sometimes in rain and storms. The images are complete miniature paintings in themselves, yet also form the starting point for all her larger works. She explains that the: ‘Sketches contain vital information and source material; the basis for my work.’


'Celtic Connections' exhibition - pdf catalogue

‘Celtic Connections’ link Barbara Rae’s work from Western Scotland, Western Ireland and South West France. She is drawn to Western coastlines for the intensity of the light as well as to communities where she feels a strong connection to the human history.


'Vignettes' exhibition - pdf catalogue

During the winter, Barbara likes spending some quiet time in the West of Ireland to County Mayo, County Cork and County Kerry. She will there concentrate on small-scale works, enjoying the intimacy, solitude and peace of the area.


'Prints' exhibition - pdf catalogue

Printmaking has been integral to Barbara’s artistic activity since her first year at Edinburgh College of Art in the early 1960s.  The way she conceives and works on her monotypes, screenprints and etchings compliments and informs her approach to painting.

Working on monotype gives me the quality of a print which you can never get with a paint brush. What the prints constantly remind me of is that I shouldn’t get too carried away with the painted mark. Monotypes remind me that the surface is really important. Also, when I’m doing a monotype, I’m probably using colours and colour-combinations that I wouldn’t use in my paintings automatically. I’d probably fall into the trap of using the same colours all the time…

Barbara Rae on Printmaking, April 2010


Barbara Rae 2013

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