Cassandra Barney was born and raised in Orem, Utah. She received her Master’s degree in Fine Arts from Brigham Young University in 2000. “I’ve had a passion for the craft of the portrait since I was a child.
As a young girl, I visited museums around the world with my father, collecting postcards adorned with 16th century art. Exploring these simple images captured my imagination, unlocking a world of discovery. I love the art of storytelling, the layers of symbolism, and would create my own stories for these quiet women, making the paintings my own. Today I paint portraits that share my passion for storytelling while revealing my personal journey of transition and discovery.”
Barney’s images capture the souls of heroines, everyday women who have found strength and personal victory in their diverse experiences. Her portraits carry a range of emotion reflective of the events that have shaped their character. Ambiguous and poignant, Cassandra’s women find strength in their femininity. “They are beautiful and strong, because of the complexity of their feminine nature.”
“My portraits may not always feature the outwardly pretty or majestic, but they all share a quiet beauty that asks us to listen and to feel. My work reflects my personal narrative, yet my intent as an artist is to create an experience that will allow the viewers to bring new interpretations to the symbols, creating their own narrative and own sense of understanding and place.”
Barney, her father, James C. Christensen, and her sister Emily McPhie delight in working together. “My dad inspires me to experiment with my own style, media and interpretation. Painting together in his studio, the three of us have developed a wonderful synergy, critiquing and encouraging each other to experiment with colors, surfaces and textures.”
Life is truly art at Barney’s home. Her husband is also an artist and teacher. Their three daughters enjoy creating alongside their parents. In addition to her children, Barney encourages many others to explore the world of art through education. She has taught at The Waterford School and Brigham Young University, where she is currently part-time faculty.