Barbara Nowak claims she doesn’t have an artistic bone in her body, but she’s proud of her eye for art.
“When I first opened the gallery 20 years ago I expected to carry the traditional Western and wildlife art, but as the gallery began to evolve, so indeed did the art,” she says. “I began to build my collection by seeking out the unusual and unique.”
Now in its 20th year, Horizon Fine Art is an eclectic showcase of local, regional, and international art, displaying paintings, sculpture, pottery, dimensional art, furniture, and jewelry.
Gallery visitors feast their eyes on Sarah Rogers’ bright and playful “tropical wildlife” watercolors, Tracie Spence’s powerful, large-scale monochromatic photographs of Western wild mustangs and, more recently, a series of Outer Banks Spanish mustangs. Caleb Meyer’s rich and textured oils depict landscapes and city scenes, while Mark Lague’s impressionist international cityscapes appear to viewers as if they are
observing a scene through a rain-soaked window.
Sculptures vary in style from traditional Western bronzes with exquisite patinas by D. Michael Thomas, to wildlife in rustic driftwood combined with vintage auto parts by Tina Milisavljevich, to graceful arching feminine bronzes by Karl Jensen.
As Horizon’s owner and buyer, Nowak lets her personal preferences guide her selections, but says her own taste can’t dictate all her choices, as she wants to appeal to a variety of collectors. She finds it important to offer an array of options. She enjoys featuring emerging artists and says it’s exciting to watch them grow and evolve with their art. And if she sees something like a hidden quality or feeling in a piece of art, she’s willing to take a risk.
“I’m willing to go out on a limb and try something new,” Nowak says.
Currently, she has several portraits by Wang Kun, a Chinese artist. Kun’s paintings are exquisite examples of modern classical realism. The masterful portraits reflect a timeless style of painting, and they visually stand apart from the surrounding art in the gallery, both in technique and mood.
While Nowak doesn’t describe herself as an artist, her unbridled enthusiasm for her artists is evident. “When you meet an artist, you see into their souls—you see what makes them tick,” she says. “It’s wonderful. There’s so much incredible talent out there. I am in awe of the artists I represent.”