Black Cockatoos, Kookaburras and Wrens feature in Joanne Barby’s most recent series of works. Each with their own unique character, Barby has prescribed to them the attention and reverence that is more often associated with human portraits. Unexpectedly, the audience find themselves met by the otherworldly gaze of the fauna that populate the South Coast region. Leaning into the sublime, these works appeal to the mystery that surrounds our fellow creatures and their continual presence in the environment around us.
For Barby, these works are manifestations of moments she has spent in nature. More than a photographic reflection, they carry with them the specificity of a unique memory and the feelings contained within it. Through these works, Barby invites us into her own personal experience of the coast and the animals that inhabit it, simultaneously appealing to the audience’s own connection to place.
As an artist for whom process is paramount, colour, line and texture combine to create kaleidoscopic gradients and granular detail. Focusing on the fundamentals, Barby allows colour and form to expand intuitively as she builds on the image, creating its overall character. Ultimately, drawing is a meditative practice for Barby, allowing her to become subsumed in the process.
After experiencing serious personal trauma over the last few years, retreating into the surrounding bushland became a form of therapy. Coinciding with the aftermath of the 2019 bush fires that ravaged the area, Barby witnessed the miraculous rejuvenation of the land and the return of birdlife.
Barby’s experiences of the coast captured in this series, reminded her of the world’s miraculous capacity to heal. But most importantly, it reminded her that even in the most dire circumstances, life goes on.
Award winning artist Joanne Barby is a mother to three children, currently living and working on the South Coast of NSW. Her artwork has been exhibited in many group shows and is hung in private collections around the world.
Joanne is one of only a few selected artists worldwide to be endorsed by PanPastel on their “Paint, Draw, Blend” website. Joanne was recently selected to represent PanPastel at the first Australian Pastel Expo on the Sunshine Coast, in September of 2019. At the Expo two of Joanne’s signature PanPastel sets were released, with both selling out. Her Signature and SeaScape PanPastel sets are now sold all over the world.
As a result of her unique drawing style with PanPastel, she conducts regular workshops across Australia and in the US for the last three years. A major highlight was conducting demonstrations of her technique in New York and Philadelphia in 2016 and 2017.
Joanne had the pleasure of exhibiting with artist friend Peta West at Gallery Alchemy in 2022.
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