Barbara Grad (born 1950) is an American artiste and educator, known for abstract, fractured landscape paintings, which total organic and geometric forms, colliding planes and patterns, and fused perspectives. Her work's themes total the instability of experience, the ephemerality of nature, and the mysteriousness of navigating cultural environments in flux. While best known as a painter, Grad as well as produces drawings, prints, mixed-media works and player books. She has exhibited in venues including the Art Institute of Chicago, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Danforth Art, Rose Art Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art and A.I.R., and been reviewed in publications, including Artforum, Arts Magazine and ARTnews. Grad co-founded Artemisia Gallery, one the country's first women-artist collectives, in Chicago in 1973. She has been an educator for greater than four decades, most notably at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Grad has been based in the Boston area since 1987.
Grad's play-act is noted for its loose, painterly invented spaces, lush color, and success to conjure wide-ranging allusions to home and seascapes, urban sprawl, or ecological concerns. In 2018, critic John Yau wrote that Grad's "patterns and striations evoke soggy reflections and geological strata, tilled home and strip mines, without shedding their identity as abstract, painterly marks. […] She evokes a world undergoing myriad changes, from the incremental and unavoidable to the deliberate and cataclysmic." Describing the 2016 Grad show "Off Road," The Boston Globe's Cate McQuaid observed, "Grad paints excitement and movement, not things. [Her] stripes, colors, and crashing forms conveying urgency as she places us upon the precipice of chaos."