10 – 27 November 2016
about the exhibition
Tasmanian artist, Barbie Kjar’s work is immediately recognisable and very distinctive in both technique and imagery. Known predominantly for her intimate and ethereal portraits, she explores in her recent workthe idea of connection to place. Musing on the places that continue to influence her own life story became the catalyst for the exhibition, compelling Barbie to ask others about their own connections and drawing from their responses. For Barbie, two places continue to inspire her practice – “In Tasmania, where I was born, I am drawn to the natural forms, the sea and the mountains – a seeming paradise yet with a dark history. On the other side of the world, Spain has been a big influence in my life and art since a residency there in the early 1990s and with regular stays since then. The vibrancy, the noise, the street life and colours excite and inspire me.”Understanding and capturing the story behind the sitter is the motivation behind all of her art describing the process of portraiture as being so much more than just a likeness. “People have so many layers and I am interested in what inspires them, what drives them and who they really are.” 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.
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, ‘Floating Rock on kunanyi/Mt Wellington’ and, in 2016,she received a highly commended in the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize.