Holding Pattern, 2001

Barbara Black
(American, born 1936)

Location: Crossroads Alternative High School, Granite Falls


Holding Pattern is part of artist Barbara Black's body of work featuring dream imagery and water as a symbol. This piece presents many spiritual and nature-based symbolic layers. She describes it as "the dreamer's hands in the waters of the unconscious capturing and protecting the emotive symbol—in this case, the fish. The fish has so many symbolic meanings which it has gathered over time and cultures that other interpretations may seem as true for the viewer. Several months after I first exhibited it, it occurred to me that an important meaning would be to represent our need to preserve and protect (as symbolized by the enclosing hands) the threatened species in our environment—such as both fish and fisherman. Still later, I was reading the hands and the water sliding down from the fingertips as a goblet enclosing the water and fish, a more spiritual symbolism.”

This artwork was acquired for the State Art Collection in partnership with Granite Falls School District.


Portland, Oregon-based artist Barbara Black creates art that is often related to dreams and mythology. She combines abstract and realistic elements. In her own words, “I try to make art where meanings are complex and layered so that we can return time after time and continue to receive new ideas about the content of the artwork.”
Black received a Bachelor of Arts from Reed College in Portland and a Master of Fine Arts in painting from Portland State University. In 1978, she co-founded Blackfish Gallery, an artist-owned cooperative exhibition space in Portland that continues to this day. She has taught art for many colleges and institutions in Oregon State.

Material CategoryWork on paper - painting
Mediumwatercolor and mixed media on paper
Dimensions9 in x 12 in
ID NumberWSAC2002.229.000
Acquisition MethodDirect purchase
Artist LocationOregon, United States
Location Information
AgencyGranite Falls School District
Artwork LocationCrossroads Alternative High School
Main office hallway
WA CountySnohomish
Site TypePublic School
Address205 N. Alder Ave
Granite Falls, WA 98252
Geo. Coordinates48.084897 | -121.963515
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