Art Collecting

New exhibition at the Art Gallery Kimberley | Pro Club Bd

Second Chance – Journey to the Butterfly: soapstone sculptures, flipstones, drawings and paintings that invite contact, interaction and introspection.

Born on the prairie, Barbara Maye moved and traveled as a nomadic seeker for decades. But when she hugged her first Giant Cedar near Radium in 2005, she knew she had finally found a home in BC

Inspired by indigenous beliefs from around the world and the spiritual wisdom of healing energies both in our bodies and in entities of nature, Barbara’s artworks acknowledge origins; Wood as tree, stone as mountain and body as spirit.

A multimedia artist, sculptor and art teacher based in Revelstoke, Barbara has been creating art that invites contact, interaction and introspection for more than 20 years. Through the presentation of close-ups of figural movement, pure abstraction and objects from nature, her method invites the passive viewer to interact and identify with the art.

This summer Barbara is presenting two art exhibitions in the Kimberley. After a successful solo show at Center 64 Gallery, where she filled the main gallery with her soapstone sculptures and paintings, Barbara’s journey continues with an all-new art show at Art Gallery Kimberley.

Second Chance – Journey to the Butterfly will feature Barbara’s soapstone sculptures as well as multimedia/multi-genre paintings and drawings inspired by the history of soapstone.

According to Barbara, soapstone is the result of metamorphosis. “Like the transformation into a butterfly in its chrysalis, soapstone undergoes a complete physical restructuring when the right environmental conditions are present. The resulting rock is uniquely colored by the minerals present and the flow of the molten experience. It’s understandable why many honor soapstone for its healing properties associated with openness, flexibility, communication, imagination and change,” said Barbara.

Mimicking this rolling, molten formation, Barbara created her innovative Flipstones, interactive sculptures that you can pick up, examine, and “flip” into a new resting position. By changing the position of the Flipstones, you shift the initial perspective for the next person and create an ever-changing art exhibit.

“When I carve stones, I feel the release of energy that has been stored in the stones for thousands of years,” Barbara said. “My free form style of carving is a co-creation process with the stone where my role is to help the stone take on a new form

to express yourself. I just see myself as a conduit for creative energy to flow through.”

Barbara uses soapstone dust and stone chips from her carving studio to create rich textures in her paintings. This texture is found in her landscape paintings – memories of places visited in search of soapstone; her Lava Study paintings, which explore the metamorphosis of stones; and in the paintings of the Emergence series, in which she expresses the euphoria of the post-transformation.

Immediately after graduating from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors, Barbara studied with Chaka Chikodzi, a Zimbabwean Canadian master stone carver. He taught her how the Shona carve; approach the rocks with respect and without expectations, and then intuitively co-create the shape. This sparked a passion for stone carving and the free form style that Barbara still practices to this day.

Deeply influenced by the bountiful teachings of Noreen E. Saddleback of the Samson Cree Nation and Elder Bart Thomas, Splatsin Band, Guardian and Knowledge Keeper of the Secwepemc First Nation, Barbara’s artworks respectfully explore nature for the arcane wisdom she possesses.

It took 10 years to realize Barbara’s dream of harvesting stone straight from the land to carve, but Mark McKay, a retired carver and prospector, took her on as a mentor to the mountains around Revelstoke. Understanding the tectonics (earth processes) that form soapstone, finding and respectfully harvesting the rough stone, and the original locations of the rocks inform the process of creating Barbara’s abstract sculptures – some carved in Flipstone and others in the traditional plinth style.

When asked what she likes most about creating art, Barbara says, “I think what I like most about art is the gifts found in the ‘happy accidents.’ If we keep an open mind throughout the creative process, a mistake can be a bounty of reward. This is how the Flipstones came about. I carved a big stone and at the very end it broke into five pieces. Yes, I was upset, but it taught me about quarries and accepting that the stones call the shots. I later recorded these pieces and turned them into interactive, multi-positional sculptures… and the concept of interplay and shifting perspectives is the language of my work today.”

Barbara says the biggest challenge she faces when creating her art is that her mind gets in the way. “I try to approach my work as a meditation and keep my critical mind calm. But overthinking and self-criticism are my nemesis. The techniques I discover and practice to meet this challenge are the methods I teach in my art classes.”

As an art teacher, Barbara strives to make the language of art more accessible to everyone. She began teaching during her studies and today works as a freelance and online lecturer for adult art education courses in various mediums. Barbara’s teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that anyone given a new perspective can regain their creative voice.

“I think my greatest pride as an artist comes from teaching; to see the opening in a student when they recognize their creative self; share what I’ve learned on my own creative journey; and the real friendships that have developed from the classes,” said Barbara. “I have many students who have taught with me for years just to keep their practice going, and some who have exhibited and sold their work as much better artists than me. It’s so rewarding to be a small part of their growth.”

Barbara’s exhibition will be on view at the art gallery from August 3rd to 27th. The art gallery is participating in this year’s Columbia Basin Culture Tour on August 6th and 7th.

As part of this tour, Barbara will present an abstract art slide show and set up art creation stations that will introduce visitors to: Upside Down Drawing; Accessing our senses; Surrealist-inspired abstraction; and Fauvist-inspired abstraction. Visit for more information.