Our next Artist You Need To Know is Barb Hunt: “My grandmothers were avid quilt-makers and as a child I learned basic sewing skills essential for life on a farm. After graduating from art school, I was influenced by the textile traditions of Newfoundland where I lived for many years. In my art practice I focus on nature, mourning rituals, war, from a feminist perspective. I often juxtapose contradicting elements and by using domestic materials, I bring social issues into the everyday world. I am currently inspired by early feminist artists who worked closely with nature and those who create art for social change.”
Hunt is a ‘craftivist’, and feminism defines her practice in a strong way: she employs materials, processes, and colours that have been associated with ‘femininity to bring new context and care to objects of war and adds legitimacy to tasks associated with women’s work.’ A multidisciplinary artist, Hunt “has contrasted knitting as a warming, protective art, against the violence of war. Through her tactile work, Hunt explores domesticity, mourning rituals, the natural world, and the colour pink.” (this quote, and the one that opened this feature, are from her site).
Barb Hunt earned a Diploma in Studio Art (University of Manitoba) and an MFA (Concordia University, Montreal) where she focused upon Fibre Arts. An educator as well as an artist, Hunt has taught at Western University, Queen’s University, and Memorial University of Newfoundland (where she was recognized with the President’s Award for Outstanding Research).
Hunt’s art can be found in numerous collections, including the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa, ON, Central Museum of Textiles, Lodz, Poland, Fondazione Benetton, Italy, Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John’s, NL, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, ON and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Her work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally: significant solo exhibitions have been mounted at the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, the Kitchener / Waterloo Art Gallery, Artspace (Peterborough, ON), Modern Fuel (Kingston, ON), Agnes Etherington Art Gallery (Kingston, ON) and at Exeter and Bath galleries in the UK. A more comprehensive list of her exhibitions can be seen here.
Sheila Spence, in writing about Barbara Hunt’s exhibition Mourning, asserted that “Hunt poetically reminds us that we [women] have a history to draw upon. Women have come together over time to work, to tell our stories, to grow and to heal.” Much more of Hunt’s artwork can be enjoyed here, at her site.