Highly regarded Tasmanian artist, Barbie Kjar, creates paintings and works on paper that are immediately recognisable and very distinctive in both technique and imagery. Birds, beasts and the four elements of earth, air, fire and water are major themes throughout her art and imbue her portraits of people with a compelling cultural narrative. Colour is used to enhance and interpret these themes and is always a conscious and significant choice for Barbie. In her printmaking, she employs an electric engraver that allows her to produce rich velvety lines, a hallmark of her art. Although often figurative, her imagery is rarely literal, with each element in the image telling a story where meanings are not fixed but hint at realities with almost endless possibilities. Her images are both beautiful and ethereal with a powerful narrative at their core.
Barbie Kjar completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts through the University of Tasmania in 1988 and, in 2002, completed her Masters of Fine Art at RMIT. She has exhibited extensively across Australia and overseas with her work held in such prominent collections as the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery as well as regional galleries across Australia. In 2015, Barbie was awarded first prize in the inaugural ‘Bay of Fires Art Prize’ with her work on paper, ‘Rock on Kananyi/Mt Wellington.’