Barbro Åberg was born in 1958 in northern Sweden. As a child she spent hours alone on the rocky coast of the Gulf of Bothnia—the textures and forms would stick with her for a lifetime.
In 1979, Åberg moved Oregon City and enrolled at Clackamas Community College. It was here that she discovered her passion for ceramics. The atmosphere was electric. American ceramists of the period, as she says, “had a very different approach. There were no limitations and there was a great sense of freedom. You could do what you liked. The Danish approach is very analytical.” Her work, ever after, has sought to reconcile these two extremes.
In 1983, Åberg returned to Scandinavia to attend art school in Sweden and three years later to Denmark to study at the Designskolen Kolding. The school was less conservative in its discipline than others in the region, and she was encouraged to experiment with slab-built shells & earthenware. Soon, however, she found even this experimentation too conventional, the techniques she derived inadequate to giving her concepts physical form.
Two encounters early in the 1990s changed everything for Åberg. In 1990, she was introduced to Bob Shay’s innovative use of perlite, a volcanic substance he added to clay in order to achieve more control over form; and in 1994, to Rosette Gault's use of paper fibers in clay, which allowed for more control yet. By wielding these groundbreaking techniques in unison, Åberg was finally able to achieve execute her conceptions. As Åberg says, "It felt familiar—a feeling of coming home. It just seemed right. The material fit my ideas and all the things that I had wanted to express. Processes that had caused me great problems were all of a sudden made possible.”
Once able to work instinctually Åberg developed the aesthetic for which she is well-known today. Her works, largely in black and white, play on the traditional Danish form of the vessel, morphing it into something purely sculptural, even playfully non-utilitarian. Rough surfaces inspired by geology are set in contrast to a refined elegance—new shapes inspired by fossils, old bones, or coral, forms full of light, negative space, and a tensile strength, made possible by the perlite and paper in her clay.
-Ole Haslund´s Honorary Award 2018.
-Prix du Public - Le 13e Parcours Céramique Carougeois, Switzerland 2013.
-Höganäs Art Museum, Sweden.
-Musée de Carouge, Switzerland.
-GIFU – Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Japan.
-The New Carlsberg Foundation, Denmark.
-Danish Arts Foundation.
-CLAY -Museum of International Ceramic Art, Denmark.
-The Danish Museum of Art and Design, Copenhagen, DK.
-The National Public Art Council, Sweden.
-La Biennale de la Sculpture en Céramique, Mamer, Luxembourg.
-Artists Easter Exhibition in Aarhus, Denmark.
-Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Award. New Zealand.
-Charlottenborgs Spring Exhibition, Copenhagen, Denmark
-Artists Easter Exhibition in Aarhus. Denmark.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2018 Silent Vocabulary, Lacoste/Keane Gallery. USA.
2017 Höganäs Art Museum, Sweden.
2016 Ann Linnemann Studie Galleri, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2016 Kaolin, Stockholm, Sweden.
2014 Correlations, Galleri Lerverk, Gothenburg, Sweden.
2013 Galerie Tiramisu, Carouge, Switzerland, in connection with the Biennale Parcours
2013 Céramique Carougeois
2011-2012 Recollection and Recognition, CLAY Museum, Denmark.
2010 Galerie Hélène Porée. Paris, France.
2005 Thoughts about Time, Galleri Nørby, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2004 Galleri Jytte Møller, Fredericia, Denmark.
2003 Traces of Time, Galleri Blås&Knåda, Stockholm, Sweden.
Selected Two-person Shows
2012 Danish Clay, Lacoste/Keane Gallery -with Hans Vangsø.
2006 PULS, Bruxelles, Belgium – with Jonathan Keep.
2005 Carlin Gallery, Paris, France - with Thiébaut Chagué.
Selected Group Exhibitions
2019 100 years of Danish Ceramics. Sophienholm Kunstbygning, Denmark.
2019 Particle & Wave: Paperclay Illuminated. ASU Art Museum, Tempeh, AZ, USA.
2016 Designmuseum DHUB in Barcleona, Spain. IAC Member´s Exhibition.
2013 Parcours Céramique Carougeois, Galerie Tiramisu, Switzerland.
2012 Drawing the Empty Space - The XXIInd Internationale Biennale of Vallauris
2012 Gallery Hu, Nagoya, Japan. GIFU – Museum of Ceramic Art, Japan.
2011 Verkehr Museum, Japan. Sasama International Ceramic Festival, Japan.
2008 The View from Denmark – Contemporary Danish Ceramics, Lacoste Gallery, USA.
2007 Mathematical Ceramics. St. Joseph Gallery, Leuwarden, Holland.
2005 Meister der Moderne, Handwerkskammer of Munich, Germany.
2004 Céramiques Contemporaines Danoises, Carlin Gallery, Paris, France.From the Kilns of Denmark, Maison du Danemark, Paris & Fælleshuset, Berlin. Keramik aus Dänemark, Galerie Hilde Holstein, Bremen, Germany.2003 From the Kilns of Denmark, Fitchburg Art Museum, Mingei Art Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Racine Art Museum, USA.
2001 Sculptural Form and Image, CLAY Museum. Denmark. Metamorphose, International Biennual, Kapfenberg, Austria.
2000 Standpunkte, CLAY Ceramic Museum, Denmark. Material:Earth - Size: Small. Kunstforum Kirchberg, Switzerland.
1999 Standpunkte, Keramion in Frechen, Germany.
1998 New Works. CLAY Museum, Denmark. Global Ceramics”. Galerie Babel, The Netherlands.
1997 The Ceramic Triannual Exhibition, MuseumTrapholt, Denmark. Danish Ceramics,1850-1997. Sophienholm, Denmark.
1996 UNIKA, Danish Design Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark.