Barbara Krupp and the Magical Mr. Toad

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Tucked away in her studio, artist Barbara Krupp can go days and weeks without spending significant time interacting with other people. For her, an exhibition can be a breath of fresh air and an affirmation that her work matters outside of her solitary relationship with a canvas. It can give her a chance to talk about her work and find new inspiration in the responses of those gazing upon her paintings. “When you’re an artist, you’re alone and have doubts,” she says, “so it’s nice when I can see my work bring peace and joy to people.” And her newest collection, “The Language of Color,” promises to evoke those very feelings and perhaps start a conversation or two about the way her colorful work can brighten a gloomy disposition.

The collection showcases Krupp’s affinity for bright colors that she melds together with impossible, Monet-like grace, giving each piece the warmth and softness of cotton candy on a summer day. Some of her work, like “Gardening at Midnight” or “Sleeping in Sicily,” look like surreal landscapes that capture the emotional essence of a scene if not the physical details. But Krupp, in spite of the specificity of her titles, never sets out to create with anything particular in mind. “I just try to paint each day and am always amazed at what comes out,” she says.

Since her pieces are left entirely to Chance, their titles are most often decided upon after she has gazed upon the finished product and reflected on what it means to her. “A lot of the names are from my travels,” she says, “because I think my paintings always seem to take me back to someplace I’ve been.” But one recurring theme in her titles is a certain Mr. Toad. He is not an actual object hidden in her abstract paintings (or is he?) but is instead the essence of her whole approach. Mr. Toad loves traveling, excitement and fun, and he seems to take residence in some of Krupp’s more complex work, like “Mr. Toad on Vacation” (pictured above) or “Mr. Toad’s at it Again,” which hangs on the wall of her daughter’s home. 

Art collectors and aficionados will have a chance to spot Mr. Toad through February 28th at Dabbert Gallery, where the cheerful exhibition is sure to speak to viewers in Krupp’s lilting language of color.

Photo courtesy of Dabbert Gallery, 46 South Palm Ave., Sarasota, 941-955-1315

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