21 Over 31 | Jill Barton

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

Painter Jill Barton makes her home in the heart of Utah, but her imagery is often inspired by far-flung cultures and religions. The spiritual practice of Buddhism holds a special allure. “I’m not a practicing Buddhist, but I’ve studied it, and I believe in the power of now and of being in the present,” Barton says.

In KUAN YIN WITH RED FLOWERS she depicts a universally loved deity in the Buddhist spiritual tradition. In fact, Kuan Yin, viewed as an enlightened being, is a recurring figure in Barton’s work. The painting is also a good example of how Barton incorporates gold leaf, silver, and copper into her Asian-inspired works. “I’m always trying to get this wabi-sabi look. I want to show the imperfections that come with life,” she says. “I want my paintings to look ancient but contemporary.” Barton is a self-taught artist but has been influenced by workshops with Ovanes Berberian. She is represented by Relics Framemakers, Holladay, UT, and www.jillbartonart.com.

Featured in our annual “21 Over 31” issue in November 2009