Coburn Gallery’s latest exhibition depicts human emotion


Waters’ “Spectrum” on display in the Coburn Art Gallery

Hannah Witteman

From Feb. 12 to Feb. 21, the Coburn Gallery is hosting the Senior Art and Design Exhibition showcasing the work of recent graduate Barbie Waters.

Waters’ work showcases the emotions of people and how everyone goes through similar feelings.

“What I was trying to express was that we all portray emotions externally… The external has an internal trigger or an internal memory,” Waters said.

Some of the work produced by Waters depicts pieces coming out of the painting.

The piece called “Wonder” shows a young boy looking up with his mouth open and airplanes above him. To any onlooker, it looks as if he is surprised by the flying objects above him.

“That [the airplanes] was the trigger for that wonder… Those airplanes in the sky were surprising and wonderful to him,” Waters said.

Another piece that is in the showcase signifies something different. Waters’ piece “Grateful” shows a young girl smiling.

A piece which looks just like ordinary food on a plate represents a young Indian girl who was grateful for that plate of food.

“I had been to India five years ago and worked with an orphanage there,” Waters said. “We gave out food to lepers and to kids and orphans and they were just so grateful.”

When COVID-19 hit the United States, Waters was forced to bring her artwork home with her to finish for the rest of the semester, but art was there to help her get through the change.

Waters’ painting called “Anxiety” (left) and “Grateful” (right)

“My home became my painting studio which was hard because I have four kids and two dogs—it was hard to focus,” Waters said. “We were all grieving the things we lost. We were feeling so many things together… I was able to work through a lot of stuff while painting.”

During this show, Waters wants people to be able to see a little slice of how we share emotions no matter what is going on in the world or what others have going on in their personal lives.

Whether it was wonder, gratefulness, or frustration, the human emotion is the theme of Waters’ works and each illustration captures different outlooks.

“I think what I was trying to capture was just moments of emotional expression, Waters said. “Hopefully people can look at it and share that emotion.”