Her college years were spent at UC Santa Cruz (BA), San Jose State University and CSU Fresno (MA), where she focused on bronze casting with international sculptors Jack Zajac, Nick Jonk, Fletcher Benton, and David Bottini, among others.
After finishing her Master's Degree in Art she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where art became her entire focus. While working as a Patina Specialist for 3 years at ARTWORKS Foundry & Gallery in Berkeley, she became friends with some of the famous artists who came there to cast their works. She continued to produce a significant body of bronze sculptures while keeping an art studio right next door for over 22 years. Even after receiving a full-time teaching contract at Merced College in 1988, she continued to commute and maintained her art studio and foundry production in Berkeley.
The Meyerovich Gallery first noticed Barnett's bronze sculptures at ARTWORKS Gallery in 1986 and invited her to exhibit alongside several significant artists in San Francisco (231 Grant Avenue); first with the famous Italian artist Mimmo Paladino, and then later with the British/LA painter David Hockney, while being paired in one room with the works of Pablo Picasso. Eleonore Austerer worked for Meyerovich and sold numerous works for Barnett during this brief time, before both women left the gallery to go their own ways.
Eleonore Austerer soon opened her own beautiful new San Francisco Gallery at 540 Sutter Street and invited Barnett to exhibit there from 1990 to 2004. Years later in 2002, Eleonore opened her second Gallery in Palm Desert, CA at 73-660 El Paseo Drive. Their business relationship and friendship flourished for two decades.
- 1990 to 2004 -
"Having the right Art Dealer who believes in your work and ability makes all the difference.
I was extremely fortunate that Eleonore would keep my sculptures out on the floor all year long next to very famous 20th Century Masters. Then every three to five years she would give me a solo or featured exhibit paired with one of her contemporary painters or printmakers.
Sales helped motivate me to perform like her race horse and work hard to produce new works," said Barnett.
Barnett's March (from The Month Series) and Joan Miró's print
Eleonore Austerer's exacting quality and stylish flair acted as a magnet to attract collectors (being from Vienna, Austria herself, then Spain, before moving to the US). Her stable of European artists often appealed to an international group of art buyers and Barnett’s works joined collections worldwide: Australia, Belgium, England, France, Israel, Switzerland, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Korea, and here in the US.
Georges Braque's painting of Boats paired with Barnett's Reminiscence.
Vessel of the Innocents II
Barnett's exhibition record is extensive although mostly regional.
Parted II - Awarded National Sculpture Prize -
Malcolm Rogers, Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, juried a show and selected a work titled Parted II to award “The National Sculpture Prize” in 1998 (from approximately 4500 entries) displayed in Cambridge, MA.
Studies of the Human Figure -Henry Moore & Cheryl Barnett
Eleonore Austerer Gallery - Palm Desert - 2002 to 2011 -
73-660 El Paseo Drive, Palm Desert, CA.
Sadly, the Austerer Gallery in Palm Desert closed in 2011, two years after Eleonore's passing.
Barnett said, "Our friendship & business relationship flourished for two decades from 1990 to 2011. Eleonore taught me to believe in myself and trust my ability. She had a very strong metaphysical spiritual strength that was both enlightening and magnetic."
Commission for Mercy Davis Cancer Center
In 2000, Marge McAuley and family asked Barnett to create
a work commemorating the life of Bob McAuley to adorn
the entry garden to the new Merced/ Davis Cancer Center.
From 2001 to 2012, Barnett moved her art studio from Berkeley down the East Bay to San Leandro, to be closer to a family Condo. But she continued to cast her unique lifesize series known as "Vessel of the Innocents" at Artworks Foundry in Berkeley.
Several opportunities surfaced through inclusion in the juried book American Art Collector (2006-2018), such as exhibiting with the William and Joseph Gallery (727 Canyon Road) in Santa Fe, NM, in 2012 - Seen here with Art Director / Owner Mary Booney.
In 2013, Barnett moved to a new residence & studio and opened The Barnett Sculpture Garden & Gallery. Here she features her sculptures beside art by friends and former students.
"35 Years in Bronze - Retrospective"
"Good thing I kept my original Artist's Proofs of my favorite works,
for a future retrospective someday. Dean DeCocker called from CSU Stanislaus
and made that dream come true in 2015," said Barnett.
2017 - Barnett retires from Merced College...
In 2017, Barnett retired from over 35 years as an art educator at Merced College.
SCULPTURE: 3D Foundations
DESIGN: 2D Foundations
20th Century Art History
Carnegie Art Center Retrospective
In 2019, Barnett was invited to exhibit a
retrospective show with fellow art educator Dan Peterson at The Carnegie Art Center, Turlock, CA. This was the debut of her new enlargement of V for Victorious, enlarged with the aid of laser digital technology with a 3D printer, then completed using the traditional bronze casting process.
By 2021, the new expansion and renovation of the historic El Capitan Hotel by Joie de Vivre / Hyatt Hotels was completed. The inner courtyard, bar & restaurant became the permanent home for V for Victory. Seen here on installation day.
As the 2020-21 pandemic quarantined most of the world, Barnett continued working from home, planning various new projects for art commissions. Her studio is full of small models ready to be enlarged and fabricated in steel. Sculpture waxes sit in her cold box waiting to be taken to the Berkeley Bronze Foundry for future casting. Rarely idle, she feels fortunate to have an art studio and garden to keep her busy and inspired.
The Barnett Sculpture Garden & Gallery will be open by individual appointment again soon. Go to "Contact Us" page to request a visit.