Barbara Pleason Mueller:
Local Artist, Visionary, and Communitarian
Weaving the fabric of community
For artist Barbara Pleason Mueller, her passion for community opened the pathways for artistic expression. In turn, Barbara’s art, particularly her photography, continues to connect and enhance the Coeur d’Alene community she sincerely loves.
Decades ago, in the midst of community activism, a chance relationship with a woman who owned a weaving studio, led Barbara to begin her adventure of discovery. Barbara went on to found a 60 person non-profit weaving co-op, ‘Weaving Workshop’ in Chicago. Later she created and ran a photography program in Vermont, teaching kids how to take portraits of themselves, without using their face or their body. That led to becoming the chief organizer of the ‘Brattleboro Women’s Film Festival.’ Barbara wove her love of photography into the CDA project, ‘Portrait of a Town,’ showcasing diverse individuals who reflect the soul of Coeur d’Alene. More recently, Barbara and her husband, Marty, founded Gizmo-CDA, a creative community workspace where people of all ages gather to share ideas, equipment, and skills. This is of course after they worked together to develop a new sleeker, lighter IMAX camera that went on to win them an Oscar.
“Most of my life moves pretty fast, filled with many different experiences, and interactions. It can get pretty hurried at times. The one time when that is not true for me, is when I have my camera in hand. When I look through a lens and stop to see what’s right there in front of me…that is when I can slow down.” As a landscape photographer, Barbara has developed a style that both reveals and mystifies our natural surroundings. Her goal is to provide a different way in which we see the world.
Barbara’s work highlights organic flora and fauna discovered during local neighborhood walkabouts, and in forests both near and far. Photographs of stately aspen groves, birds in flight, and delicate leaves arouse multiple senses. Viewers can almost taste the moist air, hear the water’s gentle movement, and smell the duff below.
In her upcoming exhibit, Barbara uses three different surfaces to create beautiful new ways to view the world. Metallic paper emphasizes the vibrant and rich color of each image. Delicate Japanese Kozo paper made from the bark of the Mulberry tree, and layers of Chiffon, soften the ethereal images captured.
Barbara’s work continues to evolve, weaving new methods of presentation, along with her tried and true. “I have been using this wonderful Kozo paper that I had acquired in Europe. I love the way it works, feels, flows! ”Recently Mueller ran out, and had to track down the inventor of the paper in Finland to acquire more. This led to discussions, and more sharing evolving into additional methods of presentation. “He was kind enough to send me two rolls, along with a video showing me how to stretch the paper - making it taunt and translucent” creating one-of-a-kind and highly unique artwork.
Barbara Pleason Mueller – Soft Focus.
Opening Reception: Friday, November 14 from 5–8 pm in conjunction with the Downtown ArtWalk. Everyone is welcome!
Show Sponsor: Kootenai Imaging - http://kootenaiimaging.com/
We thank them for their continued generous support of the arts in our region.
For more information regarding Portrait of a Town and Gizmo-CDA: