History

Ball State art professor displays art in exhibition, reflects on career

When Audrey Barcio, assistant art professor at Ball State, was a child, she watched her grandmother paint and sit by her side, working with her own watercolors, bonding to create art, coming closer to as they painted and discovered new techniques.

Barcio always knew she was going to become an artist, and her grandmother introduced her to the artistic field that interested her the most: abstraction.

“She was a self-taught and absolutely amazing painter,” said Barcio. “The reason I got into abstraction was because as she got older she lost her sight. Instead of traditional figurative paintings… She began to work very large and in abstraction, and her work became very expressive and daring.

Today Barcio has found his own distinctive voice as an artist and commemorates his grandmother through the work of his latest exhibition, “no subject (non-attachment),At Echo Arts, a contemporary art gallery in Bozeman, Montana.

Barcio said the underlying theme of the show was communication, thinking about the influences she has on day-to-day life, while also paying tribute to the artists who came before her.


Art by Ball State Assistant Art Professor Audrey Barcio is on display at the Echo Arts Gallery in Bozeman, MT. This is Barcio’s nine solo show. Audrey Barcio, Photo provided

“This body of paintings is the first time that I’ve really given my work a lot of meaning,” she said. “The canvases are sewn together. In my twenties, I had a car accident that caused me to lose several fingers of my dominant hand. I introduced sewing on these canvases as a material reference to this experience.

Barcio has 24 works on display in the exhibition, which she says is her ninth solo show. The paintings vary in size and were completed within the past year. She said it was interesting to see it all come together, with each painting influenced by a different time of year.

Barcio flew to Montana for the opening December 10, 2021 and gave an artist talk on his work. She said it’s always difficult for an artist to view their work in the studio the same way it will be exhibited, so it’s important to see it at the gallery.

“Living together in a space is really satisfying,” she said. “It tells you so much about your job in a way you can’t normally see.”

Barcio said he discovered the Echo Arts gallery thanks to Sahra Beaupré, owner of the gallery. The two met in 2015 while Barcio was a graduate student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Barcio and Beaupré have kept in touch since they met and started planning the show about a year ago.

“An interesting conversation I had with [Barcio] came to mind and I wondered what she was doing, ”said Beaupré. “I read everything she did and fell in love even more with what she was working on.”

Beaupré said she is interested in Barcio’s work because she thinks it is very in-depth and thoughtful, including modernist and abstract references, as well as references to art history.

“These three elements combined are really what initially interested me in Audrey’s paintings for the exhibition,” said Beaupré. “They are really beautiful all together.”

The community reaction to Barcio’s exhibit has been positive, said Beaupré, and she believes Barcio is a “good guide” for its students, who can give them more advice on college and life by learning. following.

“You can always find out who a teacher is. They are very open, they are very receptive and very attentive, and [Barcio] achieved all the objectives, ”said Beaupré. “I think she shows her students how to think about which college they will attend, where they will work… I think this is the best kind of information to pass on to your students, beyond the love you have for the matter. “

Beaupré believes Barcio can guide students in a unique way due to his own college experience, as Barcio was the first person in his family to attend a four-year college. Barcio said it was difficult for her to be a first generation student.

She attended the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), where she received a degree in Arts Education and a minor in Art History. She worked throughout college as a waitress, taking more time to complete her undergraduate degree so that she wouldn’t take out student loans and could continue to pay for her education.

After graduating from IUPUI, she worked as a substitute teacher and taught Herron as an assistant professor, as well as teaching community classes and working for Big Car Art Collaborative, a non-profit arts organization. lucrative in Indianapolis.

In 2008, Barcio and her husband, Phillip Barcio, moved to San Francisco, where she returned to work in a restaurant because artistic jobs in the area were very poorly paid. She became a sommelier – a wine expert – before she and her husband moved to Los Angeles.

While in Los Angeles, a friend of Barcio’s reminded her that she had moved out West because she planned to go to college.

“He said to me: ‘You are an artist, what are you doing?'” Said Barcio. “And I was like, ‘I don’t know,’ and this questioning process got me back on my way. Graduate school was a great time because it was the first time I remember I really took time off [to focus on art]. “

After completing her graduate studies, Barcio began working at Kavi Gupta, an art gallery in Chicago, where she met various artists, including Beverly Fishman, former head of painting at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.


Assistant art professor Audrey Barcio poses for a photo Jan. 7 in her studio. Barcio was the first in his family to attend college and received his master’s degree from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Rylan Capper, DN

“[Barcio] was basically my liaison, who was my go-to person at the gallery when things came up or if I had questions, ”Fishman said. “She was 100% professional and absolutely responsible. She is super smart and I have become very attached to her.

Fishman said she had always known Barcio to be an ambitious artist, so it was only a matter of time before she left the gallery to teach. She and Barcio don’t usually talk about education when they’re together, but she can imagine him articulate, engaging and approachable.

“She’s a strong woman, and that’s really important for young artists,” Fishman said. “Seeing women in positions of power and being able to emulate this idea that you could be an artist – and you can also be a mentor and an educator – is really important. “

For Barcio, teaching and creating her own art go hand in hand, and she believes her work at Ball State is the first job she’s had that encourages her to be an artist.

“A lot of times when you’re an artist you kind of hide the fact that you’re an artist because your work really wants you to engage with them and what they’re doing,” Barcio said. “I’m a natural extrovert so for me teaching is perfect because when I work in my studio it’s just me and it can be really lonely.”

Teaching also gives Barcio the opportunity to share his passion for art history with students, reminding them why it is important to them in their careers. She also likes that teaching gives her the opportunity to examine more of the production process, especially in painting.

Barcio said there are a lot of responsibilities in teaching, which she takes very seriously. She includes various topics in her class, comparing artists from the past to those working now and what their differences are. She also shares her own experiences with students, inspiring them to look to the next chapter in their creative lives.

“That’s why I think it took me a while to start teaching as a profession,” she said. “I really wanted to find out what it was like to be an artist and live in different cities and have a variety of different jobs. I wanted to have my own personal achievement and accolades, and I didn’t want to go from undergraduate to graduate school teaching, because that’s not the life that many people have, or that my students will have.

Contact Maya Wilkins with comments at [email protected] or on Twitter @mayawilkinss.


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