‘Make-believe lover’: Local artist uses CAC solo show as therapyWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbie Huffman hopes to debunk stereotypes with her upcoming show “A Girl Doesn’t Get Killed By A Make-Believe Lover.”
The solo exhibition will showcase paintings consisting of figure work and portraiture. It will begin 7 p.m. May 3 at the Collingwood Arts Center (CAC), 2413 Collingwood Blvd.
The title of the show is a joke among her friends.
“Being crazy’s fine, because you know what? I can’t get hurt from a make-believe boyfriend,” Huffman said.
The title makes light of the show’s serious theme. Huffman, who is bipolar and has a panic disorder, is making bold statements in her work with bold colors. Huffman said the show is a “wide array” of her dealing with the disorders.
“[It shows] severity of both ends,” Huffman said. “Not only the emotional, depressed part, but also the upsides.”
Huffman said the two sides are shown cohesively in her show.
“[It’s] reflective of everything that I’ve been going through the past year,” she said.
Huffman said it is hard for her to be so open with the public. She said the show is her putting forth “her soul, her world and her heart.”
“It’s the only way that I can,” she said. “I don’t even speak to my shrink as deeply as these [pieces] can show about me. These are my therapy.”
Huffman wants to break down the negative ways people see such disorders.
She said it is hard for her to admit her diagnosis to others, especially after recent tragedies such as the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
She said people diagnosed with the same disorders as Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza are written off by some.
She wants her show to bring light to
“It’s my way to make them not write me off,” Huffman said. “It’s my way to show that we’re not all like that. We all have our struggles and our own inner issues, but we’re not all about to go out and do some awful things to people. … We’re just as valuable to society as anyone else,” she said.
Huffman was misdiagnosed when she
was a teenager; her doctors thought she
Six years ago, it was recommended she be further evaluated. Buying into the stereotypes herself, she said she was embarrassed to do so. It wasn’t until three years ago that she was officially diagnosed.
Now, she has partly made her peace with it.
“It’s just as if you had kidney disease,” Huffman said. “You have to treat it in order to maintain yourself, your well-being in life and everything.”
Huffman reminds herself that backlash comes from people who are not informed.
“It’s just coming to terms and finding that peace within yourself,” she said.
The free May 3 opening will feature free raffles, a cash bar and music from local band The Bricks. Huffman’s art will also be for sale.
For more information, visit the website www.collingwoodartscenter.org.