A Newport working Studio Gallery

55 Bellevue Avenue, Newport RI 02840
401-849-9166

Jillian Barber

Mythical portraits and imaginary animals are enduring themes in Jillian Barber’s ceramic sculpture.

Born in Staffordshire, England, Jillian Barber grew up in Westerly, RI and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design.There she studied ceramics with Norm Schulman and glass with Dale Chihuly. Mythical portraits and imaginary creatures are enduring themes in Barber’s ceramic sculpture. An artist from childhood, her fascination with nature, animals, faces, and costume continues today.Her expressive work creates a personal mythology of dreamlike images. The portraits are exotic, richly textured, and exquisitely detailed. Often working from plaster face castings, Barber’s masks invoke timeless mystery and magic.

For over 30 years, Barber was mask and costume designer for the Chorus of Westerly’s Celebration of Twelfth Night. Dragons, unicorns, wild boars, stags, and wolves came alive on stage.Her fascination with mythical beasts, fairies, kings and queens had come to be and were also translated into clay.

Barber’s work has received a RISCA Fellowship in Design, numerous Katherine Forest Craft Foundation awards for excellence in ceramics, and over 100 juried awards. A retrospective, Vintage Jillian, was held at the Newport Art Museum where her work is in the permanent collection. Barber is represented by the Charlestown Gallery, the Fuller Gallery in Jamestown, RI where she resides, and Studio 460 in Wickford. Barber was invited to be Artist in Residence at the Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI in January 2019 and 2020. Happy to be a new member of Spring Bull Gallery.

A video on Jillian Barber’s life and art may be seen at https://networksrhodeisland.org/jillian-barber/