Barbara Holmes

Artist | Designer | Educator


Barbara Holmes was born and raised in Southern California. She attended Brigham Young University for her undergraduate studies and did her graduate work at San Diego State University where she received her MFA. Barbara has exhibited nationally and internationally, is a Sam & Alfreda Maloof scholarship recipient, and has been awarded art residencies at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Capital City Arts Initiative, Facebook, I-Park, Penland School of Crafts and Recology.

Her artwork often utilizes material reclaimed from the waste stream, transforming seemingly untidy material into carefully crafted forms and site-specific installations. She has been commissioned for projects at Facebook Headquarters, for collectors Laura and Gary Lauder and has work in the permanent collections at San Francisco Museum of Art (SFMOMA) and Recology (et al.). Barbara has extensive experience in museum display and exhibitions as a lead carpenter and preparator working in renowned institutions such as the San Diego Museum of Art, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and Oakland Museum of California. She has taught art and design for over 20 years; as a visiting lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and currently as an Associate Professor and Director of the Art Gallery within the Art Department at Saddleback College.

Artist Statement

Aesthetically, I am a formalist at heart. Using reclaimed material that is often untidy and muddled in its appearance and redeeming it into a carefully crafted object is a pleasurable part of my process. At first glance my work may appear oddly familiar or utilitarian, but on closer investigation of the materials and their re-contextualization, the viewer may need to reconsider initial ideas as they discover more layers of meaning.

My artistic response to the wide range of waste material and objects found at the city dump (and beyond) has resulted in a collection of varied works. One main goal was to work more quickly, responsively, intuitively, and allow my creative desires to run their course. This direct way of working has resulted in a few fairly divergent or branching bodies of work. This might seem somewhat schizophrenic in its approach, but the process of transforming materials such as lattice, foam, bric-a-brac and the like, with an attention to details in way of form, color, patterning, and presentation, are constants that link the work together.

Over the years I have seen and had access to a wealth of refuse that seems an endless stream in our current culture. In the process I have gained a greater appreciation for conserving consumption and waste, and have found new meaning in Modernism’s adopted motto, “less is more”.