Cassandra Christensen Barney was born and raised in Orem, Utah. She received her Master’s degree in Fine Arts from Brigham Young University in 2000. “I’ve had a passion for the craft of the portrait since I was a child. As a young girl, I visited museums around the world with my father, collecting postcards adorned with 16th century art. Exploring these simple images captured my imagination, unlocking a world of discovery. I love the art of storytelling, the layers of symbolism, and would create my own stories of these quiet women, making the paintings my own. Today I paint portraits that share my passion for storytelling while revealing my personal journey of transition and discovery.”
As a child, I loved that the characters in art of the 16th century were not always pretty, but looked like regular people playing dress up. They find strength in their femininity. They are not vain, not beautiful and maybe some are melancholy and even show some sadness. We might wonder what they are thinking.
– Cassandra C. Barney
Christensen Barney’s images capture the souls of heroines, everyday women who have found strength and personal victory in their diverse experiences. Her portraits carry a range of emotion reflective of the events that have shaped their character. Ambiguous and poignant, Cassandra’s women find strength in their femininity. “They are beautiful and strong, because of the complexity of their feminine nature”
“My portraits may not always feature the outwardly pretty or majestic, but they all share a quiet beauty that asks us to listen and to feel. My work reflects my personal narrative, yet my intent as an artist is to create an experience that will allow the viewers to bring new interpretations to the symbols, creating their own narrative and own sense of understanding and place.”
Christensen Barney and her father, James C. Christensen, delight in working together. “My Dad inspires me to experiment with my own style, media and interpretation. Painting together in his studio, we have developed a wonderful synergy, critiquing each other and encouraging each other to experiment with colors, surfaces and textures.”
Life is truly art at Christensen Barney’s home as her husband is also an artist and teacher. Her three daughters enjoy creating along side their parents. In addition to her children, Barney encourages many others to explore the world of art. She taught at The Waterford School for four years and part time at BYU. The Barney family will relocate to Vancouver, Canada this fall where her husband Dan will pursue his doctorate in curriculum studies at UBC.
Artist description courtesy of The Greenwich Workshop