Barbara Friedman has lived and shown her work in New York City since 1983, after receiving her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from UC Berkeley. Also since 1983 she has been a professor of art at Pace University.

For years her paintings have drawn on a variety of artistic traditions to pursue the theme of dislocation, stirring together portraiture, still life, history painting, plein-air landscape, and abstraction. At different times the paintings have paid homage to different genres or traditions. Sometimes one voice from this chorus of influences dominates, sometimes another; now and then they're all incorporated.

She has had thirty-four solo shows and reviews of Friedman’s work have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Sun, The Irish Times, Newsday, Art in America, ARTS Magazine, and Artweek. A group of her paintings were selected for the 2007 issue of New American Paintings, and another group for the 2010 issue.