Home Is Where the ART Is07.05.11
Ruth Barrett is anything but your typical artist. She began taking art lessons in small-town Augusta, Georgia at the tender age of five and by age 12, she could realistically render just almost anything. By the time she turned 14, the child artist began winning a number of local art competitions. “I particularly liked art and had a desire to do it,” Barrett recalls. “It was obvious that I was good at it.” Through her senior year of high school she continued to take portrait lessons.
When the time for college came, Barrett says she following the prompting of her father and studied accounting. “After graduating cum laude with a BBA degree in Accounting and totally unsure of my direction in life, my mother – who always wanted a lawyer in the family – prodded me toward law school.”
Barrett ended up in Washington, D.C., working as a clerk in U.S. Tax Court, and after six months, she decided to leave it all behind to follow her dream to become a professional artist. “My first paintings were purchased out of my basement in Washington, D.C.,” Barrett recounts.
Today, her paintings hang in Lansdell Galleries, which Barrett opened in 1990, as well as in more than 1,000 private collections worldwide. “When I decided to pursue a career as an artist, it was just logical to me to own a gallery as well,” she says. “I have always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit, have a strong business background and enjoy helping clients, meeting fascinating people and building relationships with them.”
Barrett’s paintings are self-described as heavily textured, mixed media, contemporary paintings, which she says are divinely-inspired. “My ardent desire, goal and daily struggle are that God will use me as a tool to paint what He wants painted.”
Barrett says the result has been both religious and non-religious art patrons have purchased her work. In some cases, she says buyers have been deeply touched by the pieces to the point of tears.
Lansdell Galleries, located on the edges of some of Atlanta’s most posh neighborhoods, Buckhead and Midtown, is a 6,000-square-foot former warehouse with concrete floors, rafted ceilings and brick walls. The gallery currently contains about 80 percent Barrett’s work and 20 percent other artists, such as Calvin Jones, Keith Abney, David Goetze, Russ Vogt, Melissa Sims and Derek Seddon, who are predominantly in the Atlanta area, but a small contingency is from other parts of the country. Barrett says she’s a strong believer in supporting local artists because it enhances the entire community and the city. “When you think of great cities like New York City and why people like to go there, it is for the large part because of the arts,” she explains. “Be it visual arts, music, drama or the culinary arts. The arts contribute to the heartbeat of a community. It makes the life and people of a community interesting and colorful.”
Lansdell Galleries is in the final stages of converting to a one-person gallery to exclusively promote Barrett’s work, which she says has always been her dream.
“Our ultimate goal is to get to know our clients, invest in their lives and help them truly experience the gallery, meet the artist, feel the emotion, enjoy the process and build their collections,” she says. “There is nothing like being in a room with a great painting hanging, you are mesmerized and don’t want to leave. Life is too short to miss out on the adventure of the art world.”
Cotton Candy Contributor Savannah Duncan