From the “Awakenings & Our Teachers” issue of  Whitefish Review

Art by Barb Schwarz Karst
“The Crucible” series began this past year. I was at a junkyard in Arlee collecting materials for a painting I was completing on a car door of Evel Knievel. The junkyard had caught on fire in July of 2017, and much of the chrome and aluminum of the old vehicles had melted and pooled into the dirt, solidifying after it cooled.

Clairvoyance. Barb Schwarz Karst

I purchased the scrap metal knowing I wanted to paint on the oddly shaped, sculpturesque metal canvases, thus forming this series, two of which are featured here. As for my chosen subject matter, I am fascinated with the portrait — the visceral connection when you look deep into the eyes of a soul — a soul with which you share similar human experiences.

These incongruent casted aluminum paintings/sculptures spark a fire deep within me, awakening a powerful, emotional message about survival, bravery and perseverance. These creations are forged in the crucible of my own story.



There is No Try
Oil on Incongruent Casted Aluminum
13.5 x 17 x 1.25 inches
July 2018
This small-in-size but insightful spiritual Star Wars Jedi Master has the gift to condense old wisdom into poetic quotes. “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Oil on Incongruent Casted Aluminum
16 x 9.25 x 1.25 inches
July 2018
Children possess a magical quality in which they can instinctively perceive unexplainable sixth-sense knowledge.

Barb Schwarz Karst, a Missoula artist, is best known as a contemporary painter whose oil series “Montana Rust Belt: Abandoned Industries” focuses on abstract close-ups of the machines used during early industrial development in the West. She has won national awards in New York City through the National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic, and her work has been featured in worldwide and domestic exhibitions, published in several books and magazines, featured in many one-person shows, and acquired and housed in permanent and traveling collections throughout the country.

Whitefish Review is a nonprofit journal showcasing the literature, art, and photography of mountain culture and beyond. “Awakenings & Our Teachers” (issue #24) features 45 authors, poets, photographers, and artists, as well as an interview with singer and songwriter, Huey Lewis. The color art section features 16 works of ceramic art by artists from the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena. Copies of Whitefish Review are available in local and national bookstores and for order online at

Marquee photo: There is No Try