Born in Palmerston North in 1965, Kathy Barber now lives and works in Auckland. Barber has regularly exhibited in New Zealand and Australia since 2000, and is represented in private collections throughout New Zealand, Sydney, Melbourne and London.
Kathy Barber's paintings develop out of landscape, language, thoughts and emotions. In her more recent work, Barber entwines an abstract set of gestural marks with calligraphic letterforms to create representations of thoughts, forming entangled structures that are curling and complex, delicate and dense. Thoughts, these works suggest, are like intricate knots, their logic fine but elusive. Barber's ability to show light as if shining from a celestial window, or flickering through water gives her paintings a special quality. Slowly and meticulously executed, the transparent glazes she uses create images that hover between the known and the imagined.
In Barbers’s words, “This year I have developed a series of dry point plates that further explore personal imagery and iconography. In these works on paper, these narratives incorporate personal symbols and imagery that drift in and out of my familiar mark making. I am able to ink each plate as an original, like an entry in a diary they show a rambling of thought- each different to the one preceding. Scratched writings, amidst icons of fear, fragility, and loss are entwined like partial memories, past and present. As a black form, the silhouetted bird presents itself as a crow, a messenger waiting in the corners of life, it preys over the living. The feather floating- it carries the spirit of a lost one. Partial roses and leaves are rubbed away- these are delicate, fragile memories like a dried memento pressed into the pages of a book. The cross always a symbol of loss and of remembrance anchors itself as it weaves in and out of the mark-making.”