Isabelle Barber

Degree Show 2023

Isabelle Barber

BA Art and Design

This body of work takes inspiration from the whimsical worlds depicted within folklore and fairy tale, creating a nostalgic space for the imagination to navigate through.

Mushrooms and fantasy creatures continue to be a focal point in my work, influenced by Manx folklore that I grew up listening to, along with fairy tales that are a relevant part of so many people’s childhoods. Traditionally, these fantastical characters were a product of the effects of ‘magic mushrooms’. So alongside depicting these mystical spaces, my practice aims to visualize the connection between the biological profiles and magical connotations of fungi.

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Influenced both by traditional neo-romantic art and modern illustration, a hybrid of these styles is produced. The dreamlike colour palette nods to nature whilst sustaining a stylized and whimsical aura, inspired by Harald Sohlberg’s technique of employing a limited colour palette to evoke this mood. Viewers are invited to immerse themselves in this little world as they travel through each scene. More details of the paintings are noticed as one looks for longer, stimulating a sense of nostalgia individual to each person.

Surrealism is prevalent within this series, yet the paintings retain some familiarity. This is a response to the fantastical details of our own world that are often forgotten with the resistance accompanying adulthood.