Liam Barr

Within the land you will find people on it. How we interact, respond and embrace the environment we inhabit in our short existence is ultimately linked to our survival as a whole. The fragility of this existence draws me toward a visual commentary of our species and our peculiar ways. Accumulatively, my work seeks to form a connection between the space of who we are and where we are. Each is a contemplation of thoughtfulness, mindfulness and a tale of ones place within.

Liam Barr (b. Scotland 1966) immigrated to New Zealand with family (1974). Barr settled in Perth, WA, where he trained and worked as a graphic designer before returning to New Zealand (2004) to further his art practice. The exploration of people and their peculiarities lies at the essence of Barr’s work and he continues to define this experience expressed through meticulous attention to form and structure within the development of his paintings. Marked variations in subject matter are explored between series from his early magic surrealist and tiki inspired works through to historical narrative themed works and more recently toward surreal/realism and contemporary image set. Images draw reference from fiction to subjective fact, weaving stories punctuated with symbolism, iconography, humour and pathos. Barr’s paintings have been shown in public exhibitions – ‘Scape’ Whakatane Art Museum, ‘Tears For Tane’s Children’ Whangarei Art Museum and ‘Mind Games, An Exhibition of Surrealism in Aotearoa’ Hastings City Art Gallery. Commissions from Dame Suzie Moncrieff, NZ Defence Force and art historian Michael R Dunn. 2020 has a retrospective of Barr’s work exhibited throughout Wellington streets via Urban Art Foundations initiative to promote NZ art to a wider community. This exhibition extends to Turku, Finland as part of the International Urban Art Exchange where Barr’s work will be exhibited in super large scale digital format.

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