Kate Barry | Olive + Leo

Kate Barry, Collide, 2020, oil on board, 93cm x 93cm.

One of my fuels as an artist is an intrigue for landscapes that move me, and that these may not be the landscapes that move you. (What? We don’t all think the same?) Viewing artworks is exactly this for me, that I’m drawn to particular kinds of work, even in my most open moments I would probably walk past all manner of works to stand in front of a piece by Kate Barry.

Kate exhibits in the same gallery in Brisbane, though we’ve never met, and when I visit Red Hill Gallery to deliver work I’d often find myself drawn to hang out in front of one of her pieces. So it’s with great pleasure we welcome Kate to the project :-D, click here for her website, and she also has FB and Insta pages you can follow. Kate also exhibits with Side Gallery in Brisbane where we hope we can finally meet at the Side Gallery FOUND! Studio Dog exhibition in October!


Kate, what is your art practice?
I’m an abstract painter drawing on qualities of mystery, sensuousness, and nostalgia which are the source of my inspiration and portray my emotional expression. I try to keep my mark-making techniques free and spontaneous. I love an emphasis on the unstudied and intuitive application of paint and adore playing with boisterous colour palettes.

Who are your studio companion?
Olive is our 2 year old Border Collie, who has now refrained from the habit of running off with the cerulean blue paint tube. She is also my distance running companion, which is my ritual that is essential to my creativity.

Leo, our very large hairy ginger Turkish Van cat, stretches over the table when I work on my small detailed block paintings and occasionally nuzzles my hand away from my phone.

What are you working on in your studio now?
I’m about to start a large piece commission for a busy home, but I work on a few paintings at the same time. One of my bad habits is taping up paintings after they’ve been framed and reworking or changing them! I also enjoy mopping up the left over palette paint by creating small 20x20cm works on timber blocks which I post every Tuesday on instagram.

How has the current imposed isolation changed what you’re doing? Has something really surprised you during this transition to ‘artist in quarantine’?
I have become a bit riskier and braver with my work as life has slowed down (I have a busy family life) so I feel as if there’s been time to experiment more and ‘sit’ with works for longer and let them brew. I’ve enjoyed my favourite dirtier, softer or nourishing colours partly from spending more hours painting and less time thinking of ‘end goals’.

Any special news about your art practice?
Until the end of June I have a stockroom selection of works available through the Side Gallery in Red Hill, Brisbane. An artist Q & A talk—with their curator Laura Brinin—about my painting practice during COVID times is available on line for those who would like a listen.

(Ed: Yes we would Kate! Click here for a great In Conversation at Home with Laura and Kate)

Olive, Studio Dog and Running Assistant.
Leo, Studio Assistant and Head of Digital Detox.
Kate Barry

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