Born and raised in Kansas, Zak Barnes feels a deep connection to the prairie landscape and to the people of the land. This sentiment is the base and anchor of his work and sets the emotional tone for any narrative that plays itself out in his paintings. Influenced by his surroundings and life experiences, Zak creates work that reflects his rhythm of life.
Zak finds working en plein air meditative as he captures a fleeting moment in paint. As the scene changes, demanding concentration, attention, and quickness of hand, Zak guides his pallet knife to accentuate the moments in color.
In the studio, Zak creates dreamlike narratives that are drawn from memory, where the landscape becomes a backdrop for human interaction. Folk art, surrealism, and contemporary composition create ambiguity in both period and environment. Natural and manmade elements are placed in concert, creating the freedom of a whimsical story for the viewer to imagine. For Zak it is the movement and emotional space created that is important.