When she paints, Christa Barnell escapes from a ceaseless 20-year migraine that she woke up with one morning and has had no relief from since. Only the severity of the headache changes, in spite of an often comical two-decade journey, to find a cure. Regardless, the artist’s sense of wonderment remains, revealing itself in her luminous work.
Christa learned to swim before she learned to walk. After moving to Michigan, and experiencing the vastness of the Great Lakes, this lifelong relationship with water changed from intimate, swimming as a child in her parents' pond, to something more reverent.
Her use of metal leaf helps to encapsulate light and create a sense of otherworldliness. Barnell often depicts solitary female swimmers floating weightlessly, suspended in time, outside of themselves, in a moment of higher awareness or relief.
Barnell is a graduate of Saint Francis University School of Creative Arts in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the recipient of numerous exhibition awards.