Barb Rydz Ross: An Abstract Acrylic Artist in the Chicago Area

Barb Rydz Ross was born in Belgium to Polish immigrants and concentration camp survivors. Barb Rydz Ross has lived in New York, London, Hong Kong, Germany and Chicago. Ross earned a B.A. degree in Studio Art from The City College of New York (CCNY).

Working in Human Resources for 23 years, raising three children alone, she returned to painting and studying art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) where she received a Certificate in Drawing and a Certificate in Painting.

Ross has exhibited in Chicago at the Merchandise Mart and in New York City at the Jacob Javits Center and her work can be viewed on the website of Xanadu Gallery. Three of her larger acrylic paintings are permanently hung in the lobby of One Arlington Plaza, Arlington Heights, IL. and other works are hung throughout the building. North Light Books has published one of her collage paintings in the 2014 publication of Incite 2 color Passions the Best of Mixed Media. Her painting “Green Forest” was selected as a winner in the AcrylicWorks7 competition published in the fall of 2020. Her Painting “It Just Takes One” was recently chosen to be in the 11th Annual International Society of Acrylic Painters Open International Online Exhibition in 2020.

Ross is a full-time studio artist and past Vice President and Treasurer of the Barrington Area Artists Association (BAAA).

More About Barb Rydz Ross:

Barb Rydz Ross was born in Belgium to Polish Immigrants and concentration camp survivors. Her father was an educator who started a school for post-war, Polish-speaking children in Belgium and also worked in the local coalmines. The family came to the U.S. from Tertre, Belgium when she was 6 years old and moved to Yonkers, N.Y. because a man her father met in Germany, in the concentration camp, lived there, and he and his wife sponsored their family. Education (especially reading and writing) was very important to both her parents, so getting a college degree for her and her brother and two sisters was non-negotiable.

They went to Catholic grammar school and high school (all girls’)…that was also non-negotiable. Her love for drawing and painting came early in her education; it seemed natural to her and she was seduced by its ability to escape into a parallel world. Living with a strict, European, uncompromising, hermit-like, authoritarian father made that escape necessary and contributed to her lack of confidence. She knew however that she was good at Art from an early age; she knew this purely by way of comparison. Barb Rydz Ross majored in art at the City College of New York earning a B.A. in studio art. The long hours spent studying in studio classes kept her in a creative environment, which she cherished, and away from a parent who she could never please. To date, she thanks the universe that she had a loving, supportive and kind mother who taught her how to love unconditionally. She brought balance to Barb’s spirit.

After college she needed to support herself and after futile attempts at finding a job in the art world she settled for a job in Personnel Recruitment. She started as a receptionist and ten years later became a Human Resources Manager in a foreign bank in Manhattan. Barb got married, had three children and had many adventures…living in London, Hong Kong and Germany and finally, moving to the Chicago area because of her husband’s work. Living with a narcissist, while familiar to her, was not sustainable. She had to choose between being financially comfortable and being in an emotional prison, and raising her children in an unconditionally loving, supportive, and happy home. So she got divorced and became the single parent of her two daughters (Ingrid and Veronica) and son (Karl) (ages 10, 6 and 8), which she did with joy, love and enthusiasm.

Barb Rydz Ross went back into the workforce as a Human Resources Director in the software industry. Her children grew up with the practice of drawing, painting and sculpture. There was never a dull moment in their lives as they busied themselves creatively with art projects and reading books. She enrolled them, and herself, in Kaleidoscope, a local art school. Barb’s mantra to them was “boredom is not allowed!” It was at this school that she restarted her art practice seriously with painting in pastels. She painted portraits, landscapes and still lifes with fervor and success.

When her youngest was in high school she fell in love and got married to Frank H. Ross III and they became a family of seven. They were introduced to each other by a mutual friend and from the very first date they knew they were meant for each other. Frank’s two children and Barb’s older two were already finding their way out in the real world, but they merged families with much love and earnestness. Without the burden of supporting her family Barb could now immerse herself into the practice of art. She enrolled into drawing and painting classes at Harper College, and when she felt more confident in her skills she enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago where she received a Certificate in Drawing and later a Certificate in Painting. Barb learned to listen to her intuitive inner voice by using color, line, texture and movement to express her deepest sentiments. It was here that she experienced what artistic expression really meant and its importance in her life, community and spirituality. It is now a daily practice and she yearns for the excitement and adventure it has to offer her. Barb Rydz Ross doesn’t believe she will ever stop learning and is grateful for this passion in her life.

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ART FLUENT, Abstracted Online Exhibition 2021.

BIRMINGHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY, Michigan, Zip Us Up!, 2021.

THE OLD COURTHOUSE, Woodstock, IL. Group Show, May 2021.

SARASOTA ART CENTER, Fl. Group Show, March 2021.

EXHIBIZONE Online Exhibition, Winter 2021.

EXHIBIZONE Group Exhibition, Fall 2021.


EXHIBIZONE 2020, Online Group Exhibition, Dec. 2020

DALLAS METRO ARTS CONTEMPORARY, Anna, TX. “Modern Art National” Dec. 2020

JONES GALLERY, Kansas City, KS. October Group Show 2020

FINE LINE CREATIVE ART CENTER, St. Charles, IL. “Purely Abstract”, Oct. 2020

FINE LINE CREATIVE ART CENTER, St. Charles, Il. “Voices of the Midwest”, Sept. 2020


BARRINGTON WHITE HOUSE, “Nature into Abstraction” Oct. 2019 (solo exhibition)

BARRINGTON WHITE HOUSE, “Deck the Walls” Nov. 2019


AMDUR ART FAIR, Barrington, IL. May, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, MacLean Center, “Finding Ourselves Together” April 2018

ICE HOUSE MALL, Barrington, IL. “Arrivals and Departures” Acrylics 2016

THE ARTHOUSE, Chicago, IL. “Art By America: A Review of 2-Dimensional Contemporary Art” 2015

ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, “Inner Section/Inner Change” Nov. 2014

CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR, Jacob Javits Center, NYC, Acrylics Oct. 2013

ARTumn HARVEST ART SHOW, Deer Park, IL. , Mixed Media, 2013

ONE OF A KIND SHOW, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL., Acrylics 2012

ONE OF KIND SHOW, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL., Watercolors, 2009


Artistonish Magazine, March 2021.

Exhibizone Catalogues 2021, 2020. Detroit Free Press, October1, 2021 "Birmingham Art Exhibit"

AcrylicWorks 7, The Best of Acrylics, Artist Magazine and American Artist, Fall 2020

Country Magazine, Featured Artist: “Kaleidoscope Life”, Art and Artist, August 2018

North Light Books, Incite to Color Passions: The Best of Mixed Media, 2014

Press Release, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, “Inner Section/Inner Change”, Nov. 2014

Chicagoist, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, featured painting “Green Forest” 2014

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