Arbe Bareis received an MFA in painting at the University of Iowa. Since 2006 he has held the position of Fine and Performing Arts Specialist at Kirkwood Community College, where he also teaches courses in art and the humanities. Prior to his career at Kirkwood, he taught courses in art at the University of Iowa. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and also has paintings in the U.S. Embassies of Eritrea and the Kingdom of Swaziland.
Artist’s StatementAs an artist, it is my desire to grow, take chances, and to pursue new realms of expression. My current work is one that embraces the still life, portraiture, and structural abstraction.
As a still life painter my work provides a window into a complex world of dynamic interplay that metaphorically engages human interaction. The underlying theme is one that questions roles and relationships, inviting the viewer to open new channels of thought regarding art and its relationship to the contemporary world. The Dutch paintings of the seventeenth century hold a special fascination for me. As in many Dutch still lifes, I use subtle glazes, color, compositional relationships, and dramatic lighting to give the objects a translation into painted form. Combined with dramatic lighting, this tenebrism sets the stage for a theatrical presentation unfolding in a timeless space.
In my adventures as a portrait painter, it is my desire to capture the essence of the subject at a given moment. Sometimes the paintings are silly and sometimes not. Most important, I want them to capture the essence of the subject at that moment. The paintings are sometimes filled with kitschy references and can allude to time periods that are not of the present. The surface effects in my paintings are an entry point, inviting the viewer to consider different interpretations.
The structural abstract paintings are simply fun for me to do! I think of them as being of another time and space also. They are works that are meant to embrace time periods that have always been but also are yet to unfold. Like the other work, they are psychological studies that have no definitive explanation.