(1938 - 2018)
Barbara Postel’s friends described her as “dynamic, energetic, funny, full of life, and… exasperating!” Barbara was born in Queens, New York in 1938, and lived and worked in Bucks County, Pennsylvania from 1970 until her death in 2018. Barbara designed and she and husband Carlos Guerrero constructed their home and her studio in the tiny Bucks County village of Point Pleasant. “Pyramid Studio” is a three-level "pyramid" building, on a hillside overlooking the Delaware River. Barbara’s husband Carlos muses, “right outside the studio and our house, croaking frogs fill the pond and snakes slither along dirt paths that Barbara and I created. We built stone walls and Barbara shaped them like a sculptor.” Together Barbara and Carlos created a sanctuary for themselves, that she, in turn, captured in her work. Many of Barbara’s vibrant and skillful paintings echo a lifelong love and fascination with nature, particularly the landscape of her home area in Bucks County. Point Pleasant resounds with waterfalls (a frequent subject), rushing streams, brooks, boulders, deer, woodpeckers and other birds and wildlife. Barbara and Carlos frequently hiked along Point Pleasant’s Tohickon Creek and nearby destinations on and around the Delaware River, a never-ending source of inspiration for her paintings.
Throughout her many years as a painter there has been much published praise for Barbara’s work. In the January, 1970 edition of Art News, Barbara was lauded by prominent art critic Lawrence Campbell as "A masterful painter. She can paint anything- a light bulb, a fish, a mattress, a portrait, a bottle, a brass kettle- as expertly as anyone." Art Student League's Joseph Hirsch said, "Bravo...for your splendid landscapes...you have a gift for original landscapes- structure in abstract form." H. W. Peschel of the American Institute of Architects wrote "Barbara is an inventive, creative and ingenious person...(she) combines all these elements in a bold, geometric and abstract way." Carol Goodale of Art and Science, said in 1986, "...powerful landscape: dark swirls shot through with streaks of light capture her impression of a stormy sky; broiling waves of color render her relationship to rocks and water." Brian Rushton, director of Genet Gallery, likens Barbara’s paintings from the late 1980’s to “frozen frames from a motion picture (that) promote the possibility that the image may continue moving again at any moment.”
Barbara studied with Henry Hensche at Cape Cod School, Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she fell in love with the natural world and embarked on what would be a lifetime devotion to the landscapes around her; with Eric Isenberger and Leon Krol at National Academy School of Fine Arts, New York; with Marshall Glasier, Joseph Hirsch, Sidney Dickinson and Morris Kantor at Arts Students League, New York, where her beaming cityscapes won her acclaim; and, through the award of a McDowell Traveling Scholarship, at Academie Julian in Paris and at San Fernando Academy in Madrid. Additionally, she was an honor graduate in architectural technology and design from the American Institute of Drafting and studied Physics and Engineering at City College, New York with a state Physics award and an academic scholarship.
When Barbara lived in New York City, she supported herself by painting a portrait a month and by painting miniatures on glass for Henri Bendel’s “Vernisage.” She worked at Birdland in 1956 while studying physics at CCNY, where she invented a fluid shutter for architectural use, later patented in Japan.
The McDowell scholarship allowed Barbara time to steep in other cultures, in fact, adventure and edgy travel, along with nature, were always important elements in her life. Barbara was in Cuba during the revolution, hitch hiked through Tunisia and Algeria during Ramadan, lived in the slums of Marseille and near the Butcheria in the port of Palermo, Sicily. Landscapes first became a passion in Puerto Rico, where Barbara lived in Isle Verde and Condado Beach in the early 1960’s. Throughout the years she took multiple trips to Morocco, the last being in the mid 1990’s with her husband Carlos.
Barbara wrote this about her paintings: “My work is a direct, spontaneous expression of a sublime spiritual fusion with my subject; stream of life imagery that empowers and illuminates a primordial, metaphysical superconscious within.” Further, she cited the “merging of Science, Mathematics and Architecture with the Fine Arts” as “the source of my continuous inspiration.”