Born in Watervliet, New York in 1955, Barbara Fontaine-White has lived in Texas since 1981. Graduating from Catholic Central High School in 1973, she attended Boston University for three years, but transferred to the University at Albany (New York) where she received a BA in Art and English in 1978. She continued her art studies and received an MA in painting and drawing from the same school in 1981. She also moved to Texas that year with her husband.
After working in custom framing for two years she attended Southern Methodist University on a Meadows Fellowship receiving her MFA in 1984. After that time she taught at various Texas schools including: Eastfield College (part of the Dallas County Community College System), Southern Methodist University, T.J. Rusk Middle School (which is part of the Dallas Independent School District) and at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. She has shown her work for the past twenty years. Currently she lives in Harker Heights, Texas with her husband Bill White and her two sons Justin and Aaron.
For the past ten years, my work has focused on realism using traditional subjects. Inspired by such artists as Giorgio Morandi and Johannes Vermeer the paintings explored the relationship between the abstract qualities of composition and the evocative associations of everyday objects and places.
In a new approach I have turned to a more socially engaged subject matter. Based on a special edition publication from Life magazine, I have begun a series representing American women from 1776-1976. The first segment for this series focuses specifically on "heroic women," including Abigail Adams and Eleanor Roosevelt.
My approach in the new work is indirect utilizing metaphor and symbol to evoke the presence and influence of these powerful women.
The materials and techniques used to construct the images give the work a distinctive flavor. Fragments of lace and string rest beside photo imprinted Japanese paper, overlaid with transparent acrylic washes. The imagery is carefully chosen to capture the distinctive qualities of the subjects. Select colors and patterns rest beside fragments of text that touch on the particular wisdom of each subject. At first the small scale of the work almost seems at odds with the monumental subject matter. The scale represents my intent to condense each image into a succinct homage.