If you know anything about the visual arts in Charlotte, you’ve likely heard Barbara Schreiber‘s name before. Not only is she a freelance writer for the Charlotte Observer and other publications, shs also a prolific, intelligent artist and a constant supporter of the multitude of openings and events our community puts on. We hope you enjoy this interview, where you’ll get a glimpse of her wit, humor, and “genetically sunny disposition.”
HCLT: Describe yourself in three words.
BS: outta my way
HCLT: Who or what inspires you artistically?
BS: Wandering around. Walking around. Driving around. Being alone, being lonely. Being near flowers. There is so much to see if you abandon preconceptions.
HCLT: Tell us about your current body of work.
BS: My paintings are the products of a difficult world filtered through my genetically sunny disposition. A lot of them are about the collision of the built and natural worlds, about conflicts in which outcomes are uncertain. They use humor to address threats presented by development, natural and human-made disaster, greed or obliviousness. They have lots of pretty colors and cute animals.
HCLT: Where can we see your work?
BS: Next up is “Self-Portraits by NC Artists” at Greenhill, January 30-April 2. For this exhibition, I created the only self-portraits I’ve ever done—that is, outside of the ones I was forced to do in art school. It was a wonderful challenge.
HCLT: What do you think is the most valuable art experience in the Carolinas?
BS: Oh jeez, I have no idea. There are so many good things here. Right now, I’m pretty fond of Elsewhere.
HCLT: What book is on your nightstand right now?
BS: Deirdre Bair’s bio of Saul Steinberg, which has been annoying me off and on for months. Its major saving grace is that it’s also a bio of Hedda Sterne. Steinberg was a major influence in my younger years, and it’s painful to learn that he was a philandering, litigious, ungrateful SOB. (Did I leave anything out?) The book is 150 pages too long and filled with irrelevant details. I should probably get if off the nightstand and throw it against a wall. Next in the pile is Buddenbrooks, which should be a great improvement.
HCLT: When did you realize you were an artist?
BS: In utero.
HCLT: What is your number one art piece/place/event in Charlotte?
BS: McColl Center for Art + Innovation, because its artist-in-residence programs help inspire and build our community. Less than 18 months after moving here, I did an 11-month affiliate residency, McColl’s program for regional artists; it bonded me to the community and helped me understand what I could contribute to it.
HCLT: What three things would you take with you to a deserted island?
BS: Red wine, a foul-smelling cheese and drawing supplies. Sincerest apologies for cheating on that last item.
HCLT: Best meal in Charlotte?
BS: Oh don’t ask me; nobody is ever interested in my restaurant choices. The best meal in town is probably at some hole in the wall on Central Ave.
HCLT: What is up next?
BS: At the moment, I’m designing wallpaper. We’ll see how that works out.