I am an artist who makes mixed media work about place, sojourning, and storytelling and I find poetry in encountering new places and especially in meeting new people. Their stories often inspire my work and have helped to shape my worldview. I believe that moving between cultures is very similar to moving through life in the way that they can both simultaneously transform and disorientate. While sojourning is a strong theme in my work, I am more interested in how it operates as a metaphor for a life’s journey–whether it is transitioning from birth to death, relationship to relationship, or from youth to old age. These changes shape who we are, shift our perspectives, encourage empathy, and unify us in our humanity.
Barenz has completed artist residencies through the Students Artist League of New York, the Pfister Hotel AiR program in Milwaukee, and at the Chicago Printmakers Collaborative. Her paintings have been exhibited at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum of Wisconsin Art, the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Expo 72 in Chicago, and more. Barenz’s work has been featured in The Artist’s Magazine, the Journal Sentinel, MPTV, the Huffington Post, and among others. She has taught at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Wisconsin Lutheran College, and Hangzhou Dianzi University in Southeast China.
She enjoys working out of her studio in Shanghai, exploring the city, traveling, and teaching part-time at Concordia International School. Although I currently live in Shanghai, China, I call the Milwaukee / Chicago area home.