LAMC Art Professor Barbara Kerwin
What is intrinsic about this artwork? That is the question Barbara Kerwin asks when she looks at a
student’s drawing or painting. “I try to see the nugget of their personal
interests and abilities in what they bring to the studio classes.”
That is how Kerwin, a
full-time art professor at Los Angeles Mission College (LAMC), describes her
process when evaluating students’ artwork. The students in her advanced classes are talented,
passionate and would like to become artists someday – whether in the area of design or Fine Art,
--these students will play an essential role in shaping the world in which we
live by way of expression and style.
About her own art, Kerwin says that she has been working
with the rectangle, Minimally, in sequence, as a grid, and overlapping, for
well over a decade. During her undergraduate years she studied on an
Architecture scholarship, which in part explains her love of structure. But, her passion for art and sense of
awe comes from time spent living in Great Nature. Her parents raised their five children during her early
years on a 160-acre wilderness ranch in Washington State. In elementary school
she would check out books on art from the library, hold her hand over the
caption beneath the painting and quiz her self. What she realizes today is that the library books taught her
an appreciation for formal composition and personal style recognition. It is a way of seeing she uses when
teaching and critiquing drawing and painting. She also describes Art as a love affair. It is what interests her more than all
of the other ideas she embraces and plays with mentally. She cannot live
without art. “If there is no art
on a wall I become anxious.”
Since coming to Los Angeles at age 23 with her actor
husband, she has learned a great deal.
She was mentored by a high-powered curator/critic. “I’ve found, if I’m
true to myself, and I’m working hard at my new idea and need assistance, help
arrives and doors open. It’s happened so often it is a belief. “
Kerwin has been teaching full
time at LAMC since spring 2001. “I teach a variety of art courses from
Beginning through Advanced Drawing and all levels of Painting--Intro thorugh
Painting III. “My
philosophy is to get students to think creatively. My classes introduce students to art making with a variety
of methods and media. At LAMC’s, Institute of Arts and Multimedia (IAM), our
goal is to produce artists who are trained to create with technology: the art training comes from the studio
Art side of the program, and the art with technology from our Multimedia
classes. Our students arrive at
their 4-year institutions at the top of their classes, and many have gone on to
distinguish themselves there.
Kerwin has attracted galleries, collectors and critics who
appreciate her work. She has
exhibited in more than 100 galleries and museums throughout the U.S., and has
almost as many collectors.
La Galleria Gitana in the city of San Fernando is
currently hosting three large, Minimal works by Barbara Kerwin. The exhibit, “Sacred Art / All Things
Spiritual” includes a variety of artists whose work involves the idea of the
sacred. Her work (on loan,
courtesy of, Ruth Bachofner Gallery, Santa Monica) is on display through
December 24, 2009.
She was recently selected from nearly 1,000 artists to
appear in New American Paintings, No. 85 by Dominic Molon, Curator, Museum of
Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Kerwin is a featured artist in, Encaustic: A Guide to
Creating Fine Art with Wax, Watson-Guptill Publications, Crown Publishing
Group’s upcoming book, by Lissa Rankin, M.D/
holds three degrees in Art: a Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, and an MFA
(the PHD equivalent in Art).