Friday, April 29, 2011

Get In Line- Del Kathryn Barton

Australian Artist Del Kathryn Barton is a favourite of mine. Her haunting figures with emancipated frames and bulging, bambi eyes adorn my living room walls. More importantly (but only slightly) they won her the Archibald Prize in 2008.

2008 Archibald Prize winner
Del Kathryn Barton
You are what is most beautiful about me, a self portrait with Kell and Arella

Del Kathryn Barton’s self-portrait depicts her with her son and daughter, Kell and Arella.
“This painting celebrates the love I have for my two children and how my relationship with them has radically informed and indeed transformed my understanding of who I am,” she says.

“The title of the work – you are what is most beautiful about me – alludes to that utterly profound ‘in-loveness’ that all mothers have for their children. Both my children have taken my world by storm and very little compares to the devotion I feel for them both. The intensity of this emotion is not something that I could have prepared myself for. The alchemy of life offered forth from my inhabitable woman's body is perhaps the greatest gift of my life.”
Known for its vibrant, figurative imagery, Barton’s work combines traditional painting techniques with contemporary design and illustrative styles. Although she does a lot of figurative work, much of it self-referential, she doesn’t do a great deal of portraiture though she was represented in the 2007 Archibald Prize with a painting of art dealer Vasili Kaliman.
Born in Sydney in 1972, Barton has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW, where she taught for three years until 2003. She has had regular solo exhibitions since 2000 and has participated in national and international group shows including the Helen Lempiere Travelling Art Scholarship, the Blake Prize for Religious Art and the Sulman Prize. She was a finalist in the 2007 Dobell Prize for Drawing.
Excitingly enough, I was at the AGNSW when Del Kathryn Barton was announced as winner of the Archibald. I was in the gift shop actually (surprise!), when i over heard a handsome man and his two kidlets telling the sales assistant that 'mummy' had just won the Archibald. 50 grand right there. Spend up Bartons, i thought, it's only gonna get better! 

Check out some of her other works that can be seen here.

can you tell me my dream,2007, synthetic polymer paint, gouache, watercolour & ink on polyester canvas, 140.0 x 120.0 cm
Keeper of the   Polka-dots 2004 acrylic, gouache, watercolour and pen on canvas
223 x 173 cm 

The Last Night of my Life with Cat 2005
Signed lower right
75 x 53 cm

Barton has also collaborated with Australian fashion duo Romance Was Born to create these highly decorative wearable (?) pieces.

Del Kathryn Barton and Romance Was Born at Kaliman Gallery, collectionGarden Of Eden

See the lady talk about her work: 


  1. See now I'll be popping up all over the place in your archives having a browse. you can re educate me in some recent art history. I love Del's work although I didn't know how much till I saw it in the flesh in Sydney last year. I was mesmerised by all that lovely pattern and line. Is it just me or can you see a bit of Egon Schiele in the lines of the portraiture?


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xo em