Barbara Jo Revelle grew up in the woods in upstate New York. As a child she wrote plays and was the youngest student ever to attend Middlebury College's Bread Loaf Writer's Conference. Today she describes herself as "a 50 year old woman, a mother, a feminist and an artist who has worked in photography, film and related media, and public art."
Revelle joined us here at UF in the Fall of 1996. She moved here from Colorado where she was Division Director of Photography and Electronic Media at the University of Colorado, Boulder. A well known art educator, Revelle has taught art making in many places around the country including San Francisco Art Institute, U.C.L.A., the School of the Art Institute, Chicago; Arizona State University and N.Y. State University College in Buffalo. Her photo-related work has been exhibited in 25 solo and over 100 group exhibitions nationally and internationally, is owned by 42 public collections here and abroad, and has received much critical attention in many books on photography and public art and in journals such as Art Forum, Z Magazine, Ten/8, Art Week, Afterimage, and the New Art Examiner. Revelle has been the recipient of 28 grants and fellowships including a major NEA. She is a well known public artist who, in 1991 she completed a two city block long photo-based, computer generated tile mural-" A People's History of Colorado" on the Denver Convention Center and in 1993 completed a similar mural on a clock tower in Longmont, Colorado.
What follows are some quotes from Revelle's writing about her work in "Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education", a text book recently published by The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York: "I make art because it is a way of communicating with other human beings. For me, art making is the best way to express the ideas that form in my brain. I like what Buckminster Fuller said: "You either make money or your make sense." I think art is a good way to make sense." "...Art is about creating meaning and I think meaning lies in the relationships between things. For me single images, like glimpses of life from an elevated train, are poignant, but have little to do with understanding. A long time ago I began to construct meanings by combining images. First I combines photographs. Then I began to put pictures with all sorts of other things: words, audio taped stories, animal noises, gravestones, wedding cakes. Film with food. Video with voodoo dolls. One's experience always exceeds one's vocabulary, so art making for me is a way to name the unnamable or make visible something that wasn't visible before." "In The People's History of Colorado Mural I wanted to represent an alternative view of history. Most history books tell about presidents and governors, laws and wars, and the comings and goings of (usually white, male) famous people. With this mural I tried to do something else. Kit Carson is represented in the mural but so is Juan Carson, Kit's Native American captured servant, and there are miners, artists, labor activists, farmers and teachers, suffragists and immigrants, nurses and Vietnam vets, Black Panthers and Chicano activists, and people who died from AIDS. And there are as many women as men, which is, of course, the state of affairs in the world but you would not guess it from reading any official history of any place." "...Images are powerful and when people have images of themselves this gives them power. That, for me, is the main reason censorship is so odious. It allows one group to dictate what can be represented by everybody else."