Born on the prairies, Barbara Maye found herself moving and travelling as a nomadic seeker for decades. But when she hugged her first Giant Cedar near Radium in 2005, she knew she had finally found home in BC.
Inspired by Indigenous beliefs from around the globe, and the spiritual wisdom of healing energies both in our bodies and in entities of nature, Barbara’s artworks acknowledge the origins; wood as tree, stone as mountain, and body as spirit.
As a multimedia artist, sculptor, and art instructor based in Revelstoke, BC, Barbara has dedicated more than 20 years to creating art that invites contact, interaction, and introspection. By presenting close-up perspectives of figural movement, pure abstraction and objects from nature, her method invites the passive observer to interact and self-identify with the art.
It took 10 years to realise Barbara’s dream of harvesting stone directly from the land to carve, but Mark McKay, a retired carver and prospecting took her on a mentorship in the mountains surrounding Revelstoke. Understanding the tectonics (earth processes) that form soapstone, locating and respectfully harvesting the raw stone and the original locations of the rocks all inform the creation process of Barbara’s abstract sculptures - some carved into Flipstones and some in the traditional pedestal style.
Barbara uses soapstone dust and rock chips from her carving studio to create rich textures in her paintings. This texture can be found in her Landscape paintings – which are memories of locations visited in search of soapstone; her Lava Study paintings exploring the stones’ metamorphosis; and in the Emergence series paintings, where she expresses the euphoria of post-transformation.
When asked what she enjoys most about creating art, Barbara says “I think what I like most about art are the gifts found in the ‘happy accidents’. If we can stay open minded during the creative process, a mistake can be a generous reward. It’s how the Flipstones came to be. I was carving a large stone and at the very end, it broke into 5 pieces. Yes I was upset, but it taught me about stone fractures, and acceptance that the stones were in charge. Later I picked up those pieces and turned them into multiple-position, interactive sculptures … and the concept of interplay and changing perspectives is the language of my work today.“