Dian Terre Haute’s Ohanian Phillips will share her long-standing love for Hoosier barns at the River City Art Association’s Artist of the Month October Gallery at the Vigo County Public Library on Seventh Street and Poplar Street.
“I love driving through the countryside and seeing the variety of barn types,” said The Ohanian Phillips, president of RCAA. The pictures in her exhibit show some of the barns she’s been connected to lately … visually and emotionally.
The Ohanian Phillips has been drawing and painting barns for over 50 years. The earliest example is an etching she created in July 1965. “Growing up in southern Indiana, I was very familiar with rural farmland scenes. For this first attempt at making an etching, I remember drawing this scene from memory … a barn with a gambrel roof with a silo and an overgrown field. It’s an iconic image and one that has obviously resonated in my young mind, ”she said.
“Barns evoke a sense of tradition and community, and also reflect local architectural styles,” said The Ohanian Phillips. “Some recognizable regional styles are Dutch, bench, crib, and round barns. The exterior color and decoration of barns also has historical and practical roots. The New England settlers didn’t have enough money to paint their farms, so they needed a cheap way to protect the barn wood. They mixed skim milk, lime and red iron oxide into a red, plastic-like coating. The coating protected the wood and kept the barns warmer in the winter. The color red soon became best known among farmers because it was the cheapest. The tradition continues to this day. However, barns in Kentucky are mostly painted black because black barns increase the heat inside and help cure the tobacco. Many got their color from creosote, which repelled termites. Sign painters also took advantage of the size and visibility of barns in an era before billboards. “Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco” signs were numerous in the first quarter of the 20th century. “
The Ohanian Phillips graduated from the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and received a BFA in visual communication. She completed a masters program at Indiana University and completed additional postgraduate work at Boston University. She worked as a graphic designer / art director for most of her professional life, but continued her artistic endeavors during these years by taking drawing and painting courses. After her retirement, she started painting all day again. She works mainly in watercolor, acrylic and oil. Her painting and her black and white photos are heavily influenced by nature and rural scenes. Her art is in private collections in the United States.
Visit www.facebook.com/DiandpArtist for more examples of the artist’s work and RiverCityArt.org for membership details.