Barbara Nessim's Workspace

By Peggy Roalf   Friday April 30, 2021

I loved the peace and quiet the pandemic lockdown afforded me. Of course, I feel badly for all the people who were suffering with the loss of loved ones—that goes without saying.

During the quiet time I found that I could get a lot of work done without any distraction—it provided me with pure undivided attention to create new work in uncharted territory. I never felt bored or isolated. There was always something to do. After the lockdown my husband and I created a ‘pod’ of family members and people we worked with. I have not participated or interacted with anyone outside my immediate group.


In early 2020 I was in the midst of getting ready for a solo show at Malin Gallery where they would show my Who We Will Be/Genetic Synthesis pastel portraits series done in 1976 to 78. When the lockdown started last March, I seized the opportunity to expand the show and create a series of 6’ x 4’ oil paintings on canvas called The Wo/men in My Life. 

The paintings were based on drawings culled from my 70’s sketchbooks, keeping tuned in with the era by bringing that decade up to 2020. The paintings would build upon the drawings from the 70’s decade with strong women of today. They are now on view at Malin Gallery in New York City through June 19, 2021. 

 In the last 20 years I’ve been focusing more on my painting and moving towards work that centers around social and personal issues and how they intertwine. 

 Throughout the six decades of my professional career as an artist and illustrator I always did work for myself apart from my commissions and assignments. This personal work was what I used to inspire my illustrations. In turn my work inspired other illustrators working at the same time.  

In the ‘60s my work was bright and colorful; the 70’s brought more delicate colors and paler shades; the 80’s was a decade of great change as computers were introduced into my life and creative process;  the 90’s was a decade of education and chairing of the Illustration department at Parsons the New School for Design; the 2000’s up until today brought two decades of exploring new opportunities of expressing my personal creative ideas—and it continues.

Barbara Nessim, Stargirl continues through June 15 at Malin Gallery. 515 West 29th Street, NY, NY Info