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Magnolia abstract i

Barbara Northrup
St. Simons Island, GA

About the Artist

Art & Soul: Photographer creates tributes to nature

By Allison Hersh
Photographer Barbara Marie Kraus (Northrup) finds inspiration in vintage textiles, fractal geometry and gnarled boughs of live oak trees.

This St. Simons Island-based photographer expresses her passion for nature in a colorful series of images at Grand Bohemian Gallery in The Mansion on Forsyth Park. In this provocative “pop-up” exhibit, Kraus strategically manipulates photographs to emphasize patterns and textures found in coastal Georgia’s lush tree canopy.

The resulting images celebrate nature in dense, manda…

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About the Artist

Art & Soul: Photographer creates tributes to nature

By Allison Hersh
Photographer Barbara Marie Kraus (Northrup) finds inspiration in vintage textiles, fractal geometry and gnarled boughs of live oak trees.

This St. Simons Island-based photographer expresses her passion for nature in a colorful series of images at Grand Bohemian Gallery in The Mansion on Forsyth Park. In this provocative “pop-up” exhibit, Kraus strategically manipulates photographs to emphasize patterns and textures found in coastal Georgia’s lush tree canopy.

The resulting images celebrate nature in dense, mandala-like compositions defined by a powerful sense of symmetry, texture and repetition. Kraus recently discussed the allure of the natural world and the power of patterns with the Savannah Morning News.

Your photography is heavily inspired by nature. What appeals to you about the natural world and particularly coastal Georgia?
Nature has always been part of my life. The Georgia coast is wonderful. It has such a variety of ecosystems. From the beaches to the salt marshes, maritime forests and rivers, all have unique patterns and complexities.
My husband and I often kayak, hike and camp, not only on the Georgia coast, but all over Canada and the United States. This gives me the opportunity to get away from civilization, to unplug and really immerse myself in nature.
It’s an incredible experience to sit quietly and listen to the wind in the trees, the sound of water as it ripples over rocks and the other gentle noises of a living land. It frustrates me that more people don’t understand that this earth is a living entity.

What are some of your favorite subjects to shoot?
The storms that come up provide drama, and I love the atmosphere of foggy mornings in the winter. Fog and ancient oak trees are a magical combination.
One of my favorite subjects to photograph is birds. I have always loved the textures and patterns of their feathers, and they are so beautiful in flight.
I feel very fortunate to have such easy access to such a beautiful area. The light of the coastal area is so special, which is why it attracts so many artists.

Your show at Grand Bohemian Gallery involves quite a bit of digital manipulation, emphasizing textures and patterns in nature. Why did you decide to take this particular approach?
I prefer to use the term “transformed” or “transformation” when referring to my work. I love to study leaves, bark, rocks, bones. I have a collection of objects and I’m always bringing more stuff home, to my husband’s chagrin!
If you look close enough, you see patterns. This interest in patterns was further stimulated when I discovered that what intrigued me so much had been studied and, actually had a name: fractal geometry. I’ve done a lot of reading about fractals and chaos theory, which I find fascinating. While the patterns I create are not true fractals, they have that feel.
I love the right brain, left brain balance that fractal-like patterns have. The patterns I create are a natural extension of the things I find most interesting.

With its repetitive fields, your work recalls textile patterns. Is that something you’re doing consciously?
My current work is really just an extension of my life-long interest in textiles. I studied interior design in San Francisco in the 1980’s. I actually wanted a career in textile design, but there weren’t many opportunities for that on the West Coast at the time.
Over the years, I dabbled with dying and weaving textiles, but it wasn’t until photography went digital that I was able to use my photographs to create patterns. I see all of my pattern prints as textiles. I would love to move towards textile and product design in the future.

What is your overall philosophy when it comes to photography?
I believe photography is different things to different people. A photograph straight out of the camera may be the final product for some people. Others like to enhance or modify their images.
I use many of my photos as raw material from which to create my patterns. There are no rules. Photography is an art form, and I encourage any type of creative exploration it can provide.

If you didn’t become a photographer, what do you think you’d be doing right now?
If I hadn’t become an artist, I would have become a biologist. My father is a great outdoorsman, and I spent my childhood in Canada hunting, fishing and exploring with him. He taught me to be still and take time to look at the world, to see the details in things around me and to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Why do you find patterns so fascinating?
I believe that the entire universe is a complex series of patterns, and we have the ability to see them if we learn how. This understanding of universal rhythms, patterns and connections is something the ancient people had, but we have lost.
If people appreciate nature and how they are a part of it, they will be more willing to sacrifice comforts to protect it. I want them to see nature in an ancient way that is new to us.
Too many people just don’t see the world around them. I hope my work will encourage people to stop and examine the natural world more closely and to learn to see the patterns that are there naturally.

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER

An outdoor enthusiast, photographer Barbara Northrup lives on St. Simons Island. She specializes in landscape and nature photography, celebrating the beauty of the Georgia coast. Northrup studied textile and interior design in San Francisco before moving to the Golden Isles in 1994. A popular instructor, she offers a wide range of classes and workshops at the Glynn Visual Arts on St. Simons Island.

Artist’s Work

Botanicals
Magnolia abstract i
Barbara northrup

Magnolia Abstract I

By Barbara Northrup

Magnolia abstract ii
Barbara northrup

Magnolia Abstract II

By Barbara Northrup

Leaf silhouette iii
Barbara northrup

Leaf Silhouette III

By Barbara Northrup

Leaf silhouett iv
Barbara northrup

Leaf Silhouett IV

By Barbara Northrup

Lily pods i
Barbara northrup

Lily Pods I

By Barbara Northrup

Lily pad flower i
Barbara northrup

Lily Pad Flower I

By Barbara Northrup

Lily pad flower ii
Barbara northrup

Lily Pad Flower II

By Barbara Northrup

Magnolia abstract iii
Barbara northrup

Magnolia Abstract III

By Barbara Northrup

Lily pods iii
Barbara northrup

Lily Pods III

By Barbara Northrup

Pond reflections ii
Barbara northrup

Pond Reflections II

By Barbara Northrup

Pond reflections i
Barbara northrup

Pond Reflections I

By Barbara Northrup

Reflections & Textures
Hull reflection abstract 1
Barbara northrup

Weathered - Abstract 1

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflection abstract 3
Barbara northrup

Weathered - Abstract 3

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflections blue 1
Barbara northrup

Hull Reflections Blue #1

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflections blue 3
Barbara northrup

Hull Reflections Blue #3

By Barbara Northrup

Turquoise reflections 2
Barbara northrup

Turquoise Reflections #2

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflection abstract 2
Barbara northrup

Weathered - Abstract 2

By Barbara Northrup

Weathered hull 8
Barbara northrup

Weathered Hull #8

By Barbara Northrup

Weathered hull 3
Barbara northrup

Weathered Hull #3

By Barbara Northrup

Weathered hull 5
Barbara northrup

Weathered Hull #5

By Barbara Northrup

Red hull
Barbara northrup

Red Hull

By Barbara Northrup

Weathered hull 4
Barbara northrup

Weathered Hull #4

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflections redblack 1
Barbara northrup

Hull Reflections Red/Black #1

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflection abstract 7
Barbara northrup

Hull Reflection - Abstract 7

By Barbara Northrup

Water motion abstract 4
Barbara northrup

Water Motion - Abstract 4

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflections redblack 3
Barbara northrup

Hull Reflections Red/Black #3

By Barbara Northrup

Sapphire water
Barbara northrup

Sapphire Water

By Barbara Northrup

Weathered hull 2
Barbara northrup

Weathered Hull #2

By Barbara Northrup

Colorful ropes i
Barbara northrup

Colorful Ropes I

By Barbara Northrup

Weathered hull 6
Barbara northrup

Weathered Hull #6

By Barbara Northrup

Weathered hull 1
Barbara northrup

Weathered Hull #1

By Barbara Northrup

Colorful ropes ii
Barbara northrup

Colorful Ropes II

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflections redblack 2
Barbara northrup

Hull Reflections Red/Black #2

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflections redblack 4
Barbara northrup

Hull Reflections Red/Black #4

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflection abstract 6
Barbara northrup

Hull Reflection - Abstract 6

By Barbara Northrup

Turquoise reflections 1
Barbara northrup

Turquoise Reflections #1

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflections blue 2
Barbara northrup

Hull Reflections Blue #2

By Barbara Northrup

Weathered hull 7
Barbara northrup

Weathered Hull #7

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflections 1
Barbara northrup

Hull Reflections #1

By Barbara Northrup

Hull reflections 2
Barbara northrup

Hull Reflections #2

By Barbara Northrup

Water motion abstract 5
Barbara northrup

Water Motion - Abstract 5

By Barbara Northrup

Black and White / Sepia
Wood study i
Barbara northrup

Wood Study I

By Barbara Northrup

Rocky shore 1
Barbara northrup

Rocky Shore #1

By Barbara Northrup

Wood study ii
Barbara northrup

Wood Study II

By Barbara Northrup

Beach stones
Barbara northrup

Beach Stones

By Barbara Northrup

Prairie fence ii
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Prairie Fence II

By Barbara Northrup

Prairie fence i
Barbara northrup

Prairie Fence I

By Barbara Northrup

Prairie fence iii
Barbara northrup

Prairie Fence III

By Barbara Northrup

Morning light 6
Barbara northrup

Morning Light

By Barbara Northrup

Cockles
Barbara northrup

Cockles

By Barbara Northrup

Rocky shore 2
Barbara northrup

Rocky Shore #2

By Barbara Northrup

Landscapes
Abandoned 5
Barbara northrup

Abandoned

By Barbara Northrup

Prairie house
Barbara northrup

Prairie House

By Barbara Northrup

Chicago river 2
Barbara northrup

Chicago River

By Barbara Northrup

Winter
Winter hydrangea i
Barbara northrup

Winter Hydrangea I

By Barbara Northrup

Winter barn ii
Barbara northrup

Winter Barn II

By Barbara Northrup

Winter hydrangea ii
Barbara northrup

Winter Hydrangea II

By Barbara Northrup

Winter barn i
Barbara northrup

Winter Barn I

By Barbara Northrup

Winter barn iii
Barbara northrup

Winter Barn III

By Barbara Northrup

Trees and Forests
Misty canal
Barbara northrup

Misty Canal

By Barbara Northrup

Sweeping branches
Barbara northrup

Sweeping Branches

By Barbara Northrup

Avenue of oaks morning
Barbara northrup

Avenue of Oaks Morning

By Barbara Northrup

Minimalist
Winter blossoms i
Barbara northrup

Winter Blossoms I

By Barbara Northrup

Snowy winter landscape iii
Barbara northrup

Snowy Winter Landscape III

By Barbara Northrup

Winter fence i
Barbara northrup

Winter Fence I

By Barbara Northrup

Snowy winter landscape i
Barbara northrup

Snowy Winter Landscape I

By Barbara Northrup

Winter fence ii
Barbara northrup

Winter Fence II

By Barbara Northrup

Snowy winter landscape ii
Barbara northrup

Snowy Winter Landscape II

By Barbara Northrup

Winter blossoms ii
Barbara northrup

Winter Blossoms II

By Barbara Northrup

Architecture
Chicago parking garage abstract i
Barbara northrup

Chicago Parking Garage Abstract I

By Barbara Northrup

Chicago parking garage abstract ii
Barbara northrup

Chicago Parking Garage Abstract II

By Barbara Northrup

Chicago architeture ii
Barbara northrup

Chicago Architeture II

By Barbara Northrup

Chicago parking garage abstract iii
Barbara northrup

Chicago Parking Garage Abstract III

By Barbara Northrup

Chicago architeture iii
Barbara northrup

Chicago Architeture III

By Barbara Northrup

Chicago architeture i
Barbara northrup

Chicago Architecture I

By Barbara Northrup

Selected Exhibitions

  • Grand Bohemian Gallery
    Savannah, Georgia, 2016
  • Grand Bohemian Gallery
    Charleston, South Carolina, 2015
  • Jekyll Art at Goodyear Cottage
    Jekyll Island, Georgia, 2014
  • Grand Bohemian Gallery
    Savannah, Georgia, 2014
  • Southeast Georgia Medical Center
    Brunswick, Georgia, 2013

Press and Accolades

  • Savannah Morning News
    December 6, 2014

Education

  • College of Coastal Georgia, Business Management
    Brunswick, Georgia,2013 
  • Rudolph Scheaffer School of Design, Interior Design
    San Francisco, California,1984