Barbara Rowlett-Rheingrover
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Dahlonega Nugget
Dahlonega, GA, June 6, 2002

Internationally known sculptor, painter, author, to exhibit in Dahlonega
By Gary Aylesworth

When world class artist Barbara Rheingrover was asked to describe the purpose of her forthcoming exhibit, she said, "It’s so important for me to let people know I just want them to come and be touched."

That opportunity will take place on June 22-23, when Rheingrover will exhibit much of her work at The Funky Chicken Art Project, located at 1538 Wesley Chapel Road.

If art is to be a reflection of life, Rheingrover's "Seasons of Life" more than lives up to that expectation. All seven pieces of the series will be on display. The beholder is carried on a journey through "Redemption", "Despair", "Anger", "Fear", "Forgiveness", "Trust", and "Hope."

"Seasons" is crafted from Rheingrover's life experience and a deeply spiritual perspective. After leaving home, marrying and raising children, suffering the trauma of the sudden death of Gary, her husband of 32 years, going through a brief, unhappy second marriage, and completing more than 400 sculptures and paintings, in late 1997 she began to create "Seasons of Life."

In her book, "My Love Affair In Stone, An Artist’s Story", she states, "When everything goes smoothly, there’s little new to be learned, but it’s during those periods of emotional and/or physical pain that the steel is tempered and the lessons then learned are the ones which stay with you forever."

"I know I’ve done my very best to do this series justice. Whatever your station in life might be, my hope is that you will view this work with an open mind and heart and walk away with a renewed spirit; knowing you have been touched by a greater power than yourself."

Along with “Seasons,” Rheingrover will have a selection of her stone sculptures, including the 800 pound piece “Summit”, carved in Italy, from Carerra marble. It will be on display in the sculpture garden.

One of Rheingrover’s many accomplishments, harmonizing with her desire to share was the “Touchables” project, which has been held annually for six years.

Reflecting on it in her book, Barbara recalls, “One evening, while carving late in the studio at home, I felt I needed another perspective to the piece I was working on. I turned off the lights and felt the work in the dark. It was as though a burst of light went off in my head.”

That sensation led to the “Touchables” exhibit, specifically designed for the visually impaired to physically engage in the appreciation of art.

Other highlights of her career Include being honored in 1997 by the State of Georgia, as “One of the Top Georgia Women in the Visual Arts,” and creating a 5-1/2 ton, monumental Carerra marble statuary tribute to the 1996 Olympic athletes. “Ovation” was dedicated on the site of the Athletes’ Village of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

In addition to her numerous Invitational exhibitions throughout the Atlanta area, her work has been shown at the “Mozart’s Art Festival,” in Babenhausen, Germany, and at the Sculpture Americane al Femminile Galleria D'Arte in Pisa, Italy. She has taught sculpting both privately and as a guest lecturer from Atlanta to Pietrasanta, Italy.

Over the years, the demand for Rheingrover’s work has increased considerably. Her corporate and private collections are found in places as diverse as The Hague, Holland, The Lucky Group in Seoul, Korea, the Hilton Hotel in Puerto Rico, the Kentucky School for the Blind, Nebraska, Michigan, Washington, D.C., Colorado, Arkansas, and throughout the Southeast.

What are her future plans? The creation of fountains and large outdoor sculptures remain high on her list. Her sketchbook contains more than 250 planned sculptures. One of her most ambitious projects is to carve the “Seasons of Life” in white statuario Carrara marble.

When asked how long that would take, she answered, “at least seven years,” and says "I plan on living into my 90s and carving right up to the end.”

True, you can get a glimpse of Barbara Rheingrover through her creations, but only a glimpse. The essence of this artist is in the person, whose warmth, sincerity, and genuineness not only comes through her work, but more importantly through her very being.

Summing up her desire for people to “go look and be moved,” Barbara said, “this is not a big mystical thing, life is a journey, doors close, windows open and we move on.”

As for Barbara Rheingrover, she plans to keep moving forward, anticipating many more seasons of her life.