B A R B A R A B
O U M A N J A Y
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1947, and moving to Clearwater Beach, Florida in 1955, I grew up
experiencing the open spaces of the beach
and the mostly calm view of the Gulf of Mexico. Childhood years were spent roaming the shoreline, looking for half hidden
perfect shells and weathered wood protruding from the sand while gaining a sense of space and awareness with my surroundings,
that would serve me in my lifelong quest of simplicity and subtlety.
Early college studies
at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida, awakened my academic interests while the political issues of the day heightened
my awareness of society at it’s best and worst. It was a wonderful time to come of age with the changing times of the
60’s and the influences of the quickly changing American culture. While studying sociology and art, I encountered the powerful influence of the 60’s abstract artists and witnessed
the founding of the University of South Florida, Graphicstudio by Donald Saff, now, one of the most important
printmaking ateliers in the country.This experience
of observing visiting artists, such as Robert Rauschenberg, greatly influenced my thinking and my art. I graduated in 1969 with a BA in Sociology, then continued studies in studio art and art education, completing requirements for a secondary art teaching credential.
In 1973, I began a three-year travel odyssey, working and studying in Iceland, England and Germany and West Africa. Traveling throughout sub-Saharan West Africa and crossing the Sahara Desert with my husband, composer/musician Stephen Jay, inner drives and external influences resulted in cultural explorations
and understandings. We faced challenges of survival as we recorded West African folk music, later released
under the Nonesuch Explorer Series label. An appreciation and excitement
of living in exotic places gave me a unique perspective of life which I consider to be integral to my art. Crossing the Sahara Desert, further contributed to my awareness of a sense
of space and surroundings An e merging direction to my work began.
Upon returning to Florida in 1976, I became a high school teacher and adjunct college instructor in the arts. During that time, I taught a variety of art disciplines and also began exhibiting my art works. In 1983, I moved to Southern California with my own family. Continuing to teach and acting as department chair for two additional years, I balanced teaching, creating and exhibiting art. In 1987, I made the decision to pursue the profession of artist on a full time basis. In 1990, after many years of working alone
i n my home studio, I purchased a Takach etching press with a 40”x72” bed and opened a print making/painting studio with another artist, where I worked and taught privately for 14 years.
In late 2004, my husband and I purchased a small ranch north of Los Angeles in the San Emigdio Mountains and Los Padres National Forest where his recording studio and my art studio are now located. Here I continue to be dedicated to
the process of creating works that support spontaneous creative expression and reinventing methods of working that nourish my needs as an artist. As a working printmaker and painter exhibiting regularly across the United States, I have shown in more than 350 juried group shows and nationally attended art fairs and festivals. Solo exhibits have taken place in museum, gallery, and college venues. My work is held in numerous private collections, corporate, and permanent city collections.