“All of Nancy Morgan Barnes’ life experiences enter her work. Her paintings, past and present, have always reflected the conditions of life in which she was engaged. It is this aspect that makes her work so original. We often speak of narrative painting in grand terms. But often the concept of the narrative has led us to see make-believe worlds of the ideal and a daydreaming of better times. Nancy is no daydreamer. She is a narrative realist. She brings to all of us, visually, the complex role of women in our society. Her paintings have reflected and continue to reflect the role of the young and mature woman, the wife, the mother and the artist, working at balancing the multiple roles cast on her. Rather than reflect anything negative, her paintings reflect honor and dignity in the pursuit of her careers. Her paintings have been a running commentary of everyone’s growth in her family. Through the composing in all of her works, one finds explicitly rendered chaos and order, youth and age, family and friends, personal finances, food and meals in their preparation, friendship and adversity. There is a new mystery in her paintings that raises the current work another notch. It would be easy to compare Nancy to the great Dutch painters, but in all honesty, at a certain age in life, we become our own artists; the past is shucked aside and our own originality shows. Nancy Barnes is at that stage. She and her work are original.”
– Barry Gealt, Professor of Fine Arts, Indiana University
Ms. Barnes received her undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana, and her graduate degree from Indiana University, Bloomington in 1971.