In Memory

Barbara Shanklin

 Barbara Shanklin (1947-1996) Training: The sculptor, who trained at The Kansas Art Institute, Kansas, USA, in 1966-67 and the University of Kansas, Kansas, USA, 1967-70, before she in 1970 came to Denmark to study at the Art Academy in Copenhagen. Where she was in the years 1970-1977, where she was taught by Mogens Bøggild and Svend Wiig Hansen. From the beginning she preferred the hard materials, especially, she was preoccupied with marble if veined structure fascinated her. S.' sculptures are abstract, but the starting point is always the wild, for example. shells, snail shells, budding plants, streams, growth and development. 3 forms are recurring, spiral, wing and sprout as S. found these forms related. In organic forms inspired she tried to strike a balance between rest and movement and harmony between the sculpture's inner and outer space, for example. in Spirens inner rhythm. The smooth polished surface of the many marble works often get the stone structure to step forward and gives the hard material a warm radiance. One senses a rhythmic sense in her simple sculptures, which have been compared to the music divertimenti.

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02/12/16 12:34 PM #5    

Victor Yehling

You're absolutely right, Susan ... I think most of us would pass BK in the hall as she carried her briefcase between classes and decide she was one of the "unique" students. She asked me a question about Student Council once during senior year, and we wound up having a very nice conversation.

I see she passed away 20 years ago in 1996 -- comparatively young at 49.

I went looking for her artwork online and only found three pieces, but the shape and flow is absolutely lovely. You can find those three pieces here:

02/12/16 03:28 PM #6    

Georgeann Shipley (Chaffee Woodruff)

Barbara and I were friends in our junior and senior years at Southwest.  She was insightful.  Being with her always challenged me to think a bit more deeply.  Barbara was an artist whose work was evolving.  At the time we were acquainted, she was working is silver.  A most precious gift from her was a silver ring cast from an Etruscan seal.  The world lost an inspring talent too early in her life.  -Georgeann

02/12/16 08:28 PM #7    

Terry Satterlee

Barbara was a special person. We used to talk and discuss things . I didn't know about her Denmark artist life.  Does anyone have pictures or actual sculptures of hers? It would be great to include them in the history of out class we are working on.  This is an update. I did see Barbara's sculpture on Google. More moving was I found in my Sachem 1965, she Sketched a picture of king Lear and Mr. Gustafson our chemistry teacher. Beautiful work. Will try to figure out how to post it. 

02/13/16 06:48 PM #8    

Susan Gramms (Walker)

Victor, (post above) shared a link to some of Barbara's work.

And to Susie's comment, I agree, she was ahead of her time and Kansas City may have been too small, too Midwestern for the scope of her talent.

03/15/16 01:01 PM #9    

Janette Brown (Brown)

At a younger age, in our sophomore year in high school, I remember some of Barbara's antics. We were young enough then, that meybe it was both expression and attention-seeking; but she came in with a wreath around her head, and on occassion she nibbled dog biscuits. I didn't know what to make of her; but I later remember deciding to experience a bit of how she saw the world.

Barabra was at UMKC with me for a while and invited me to watch a theatre rehearsal while she live-sketched the action in pencil and charcoal. Her ability to capture mood as well as her subject was so honed; and I asked if I could keep one of the sketches.

Later, at KU, I asked if I could see some of her sculture work. She took me to the studio and explained how she her techniques __ at the time, she was working in bronze. Much later, I remember hearing about life in Denmark: Barbara was commissioned by Denmark, & the only Amercian artist in residence at the time; the state paid her room and board, so she was free to concentrate on her art.  She met and married a man who was some decades older, also a brilliant artist.

06/09/16 06:44 PM #10    

Jeanine Brown

Barbara Shanklin one Christmas in around 1974 crafted the most beautiful rendering of a bracelet I was looking for and couldn't find, a gift I wanted to give my roommate at the time.  After looking all over LA and finding nothing close to what I wanted, I suddenly thought of the person I knew could make what I wanted from scratch, if she were willing and had the time.  On a visit to see my parents in KC, I phoned "BK":                                  

"Can you draw me a picture?" she asked me.  

I gave it a go.  Then she gave it a go.  

My jaw dropped open at the sight of what she came up with seceral days later ~ silver bracelet with a doubled sqare setting & turquoise inlay.        

She was so talented, and she was so generous.  I'll never forget her face when she saw my reaction to her work.  Yet, years later is when I heard about her sculpture commissioned for a harbor in the state of Denmark. Somehow that was unsurprising.  What a gifted, wonderful spirit she was.

07/07/16 06:39 PM #11    

Michael Sandler

Google Barbara K Shanklin. Lot's of cool stuff all inspired by Mr Ireland I suspect.

07/14/16 05:30 PM #12    

Janette Brown (Brown)

Some of Barbara's Work

The first, from '71, is the realism period; I love this stuff. The rest is her modern art sculpture, which is amazing too.


07/14/16 06:21 PM #13    

Janette Brown (Brown)

A few more ...

08/29/16 08:26 PM #14    

Susan Sanders (Bizeau)

What talent BK had. I have no idea what happens after people die, but if there's any way she could be aware of what we are saying about her, wouldn't that be great? She should be listed on that page that lists famous people who graduated from Southwest. What's up with that? Can it be corrected? I was so intrigued with her but she kind of scared me back then. I was so provincial and it took me years to overcome it. We remember you Barbara!

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