Shrine by Genevieve Barnhart, 1990, Bronze with Walnut, Copper & Gold Leaf
Genevieve Willson Barnhart was born in 1922 in Hollister, San Benito County, California. Her education in metals began early in studying and working with everything from jewelry to aircraft instrument repair in the U.S. Naval Reserve (WAVES) during World War II. Barnhart received her BA in art from Dominican College in San Rafael in 1949, when her time spent as a student of Ann O’Hanlon was the most significant influence of her artistic career.
After graduation, she traveled to Mexico City where she began her graduate sculpture studies at Esmeralda. In 1950 Barnhart returned to the United States and continued to study at the California Collage of Arts and Crafts in Oakland in 1950. She completed her graduate studies at San Jose State College from 1951-53.
Barnhart began teaching art in public schools in San Leandro, followed by 10 years at Mt. Angel College in Oregon. She married artist Raymond Barnhart in 1965, and they moved to Lexington, Kentucky. In 1968 the couple retired to Sonoma County, where Barnhart began working in sculpture, bronze casting, and photography. Her very long list of solo and group exhibitions began in 1983, and span throughout the entire state of California. Presently, she continues to work as a craftsman-jeweler at her studio west of Sebastopol.
Barnhart has always loved working with her hands, carving wood, stone, and constructing three-dimensional things. She refers to her work as typically sculptural rather than conventional. Each piece she creates is unique, one of a kind. Most recently, Barnhart was a guest artist in sculpture and photography at the Arts Guild of Sonoma.